What boosted Australia’s retail sales, business confidence despite coronavirus

Summary

  • The Australian retail sales soared in March and measure of business conditions hit a record high in April, despite the end of the Australian government’s support programme for jobs.
  • The retail turnover surged 1.3% in March from 1.4% in February 2021 amid a rise in sales at cafes, and restaurants, according to the data released by Australian Bureau of Statistics.
  • Meanwhile, NAB’s index of business conditions surged to a record level in April.

The Australian retail sales soared in March and measure of business conditions hit a record high in April, despite the end of the Australian government’s support programme for jobs and the COVID-19 pandemic. The retail turnover surged 1.3% in March from 1.4% in February 2021 amid a rise in sales at cafes, and restaurants, according to the data released by Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Monday. It updates the preliminary result of 1.4% and follows a fall of 0.8% in February 2021.

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Commenting on the development, Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys, said, “Victoria (3.5%) and Western Australia (5.5%) led rises at the state and territory level, following falls in February associated with local coronavirus lockdowns.”

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“Queensland (-0.5%), which saw a short lockdown at the end of March, partially offset these increases,” James added.

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A dip in food retailing partially offset these rises. Decline was seen in both supermarkets and liquor retailing. 

NAB’s index of business conditions

Meanwhile, the National Australia Bank's index of business conditions jumped by a record level. In April, the index rose by 8 points to 32.

The measure of confidence saw a record rise of 9 points to 26.

Source: © BCritchley  | Megapixl.com

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"The strength in capacity utilisation points to an expansion in business investment and ongoing hiring, even as we pass the rebound phase in the economy and move through the JobKeeper hurdle," said NAB chief economist Alan Oster.

Meanwhile, the Australian economy has recovered significantly in the previous few months. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) recently upgraded Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe even said that the economic recovery had been much faster than earlier expected by the central bank.

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