Retail trade solid if unspectacular
The ABS released its Retail Trade figures for January today which as expected recorded a lift of 0.4 percent to $23.88 billion.
This at least puts growth back on track somewhat after a pre-Christmas wobble in seasonally adjusted terms.
This was clearly not a bad result and was the best percentage rise for three months, but the annualised rate of retail turnover growth has now slowed to 3.6 percent.
State versus state
Over the last year retail growth has been driven by the wealth effect of rising house prices in Sydney and Melbourne.
Interestingly the strongest quarterly figures were strongest in Queensland, with retail turnover leaping by more than 2 percent.
Given the dire state of many resources influenced towns in Queensland at present, as well as elevated rates of unemployment in a number of areas closer to the capital such as Moreton Bay North and Logan Central, these figures add weight to my theory that the Greater Brisbane economy is tracking reasonably well.
The Brisbane economy is in part being driven by dwelling construction while mining contractors are evidently returning to the capital.
In annual terms the surprise package is now South Australia with a 3.9 percent uplift in retail turnover.
This month's result was driven by department store spending (+2.2 percent) and of course, cafes, restaurants and takeaway spend which continued its inexorable rise (+2 percent).
Food retail slipped by 0.7 percent over the month, and footwear expenditure also fell moderately - which reminds me, actually, that I need a new pair of wheels.
Over the past year the standout industry has been household goods driven by the strength of the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets.
Retail turnover in the eating out and takeaways sector has experienced a mind-blowing rise, plonking something of a question mark against the notion of stretched household budgets.
Interestingly the ABS noted that online retail now makes up some 2.8 percent of total sales.
A decent result for January which was the best percentage result in three months, but the annual rate of growth in retail trade has slowed and is slowing.
This pretty much sums up a lot of the economic releases we have been seeing of late - all kind of trundling along, but nothing really stepping up to the plate.