Later this morning the ABS will release its retail sales report for February. Having disappointed in the past two months, markets will be paying close attention to this release, particularly given the need for household spending to remain firm to power Australian economic growth moving forward.
Here’s the state of play.
- In January, sales rose by 0.3% after seasonal adjustments to $24.835 billion, below expectations for a gain of 0.4%.
- The underwhelming increase followed a flat reading in December, the weakest result seen since July 2015.
- As a result of the recent deceleration, the annual pace of sales slowed to 4.0% from 4.15%.
- Over the year, household goods retailing, fitting with the strength of Australia’s east coast property market, recorded the fastest annual increase in sales at 6.0%. At the other end of the spectrum, department store sales rose by a paltry 1.1%.
- From 12 months earlier, Australia’s territories, as opposed to the states, were the star performers.
- Sales in the ACT rocketed by 8.5%, outpacing a 5.5% increase in the the Northern Territory. Those in New South Wales and Victoria, the largest states in terms of population, rose by 5.2% and 4.9% respectively.
- Western Australia, the state most exposed to the mining infrastructure downturn, saw sales rise by just 1.2% from 12 months earlier.
- According to a survey of 23 economists conducted by Bloomberg, sales are tipped to increase by 0.4% in February. Forecasts range from 0.1% to 0.6%.
- Given a surge in online retail sales in February, along with a recovery in Australia’s stock market, it suggests risks may be to the upside heading into the release.
The ABS report will hit the screens at 11.30am AEST.
Business Insider will have full coverage as soon as the data drops.