CommSec chief economist Craig James is out with a note covering a little known Commonwealth Bank series called the Business Sales Index (BSI) which tracks “the value of credit and debit card transactions processed through Commonwealth Bank merchant facilities.
The BSI covers spending broadly across the economy rather than just retail sales, including spending on automobiles, personal services and airlines.
It is the breadth of this index which makes it an attractive lead on the economy and the latest release for July shows that the BSI rose 1.7% in seasonally adjusted and 0.4% in trend terms – that’s the 36th month of growth in a row.
James highlights that the rate of trend growth has slowed to its lowest since July 2013 but that it is still 9.3% higher than where it was 12 months earlier.
To put that growth in context James says the average annual rate of growth over the past decade has been 6.2%, so even while it’s slowing, this is still a strong result.
Looking at the sectors, only four of 19 fell in July and only three sectors, airlines, automobile/vehicle rentals and clothing stores, contracted in the 12 months to July.
It all sounds like good news for the economy, even if it’s not exactly boom times.
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