The latest Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator (BSI), a measure of economy-wide spending, increased for the 15th straight month in April. The BSI rose by 0.2 per cent in April, after gains of 0.1 per cent in the three previous months.
The BSI shows average sales growth of just 0.2 per cent a month over the past five months. Previously growth had lifted on average by 0.5 per cent a month over the previous five months.
The annual growth of spending eased from 5.2 per cent to 4.6 per cent in April, after holding between 7.2 and 7.6 per cent from April to November 2015.
The more volatile seasonally adjusted BSI rose by 3.4 per cent in April after rising by 6.2 per cent in March, and falling by 9.0 per cent in February.
Craig James, Chief Economist, CommSec, said the extra day in February and early timing of Easter have complicated recent analysis.
“While spending has been modest so far in 2016 there are plenty of positive signs in the economy.
“The recent interest rate reduction suggests that the BSI will lift further in coming months, though the Federal Election may result in businesses checking their spending plans,” Mr James said.
Across sectors, only five of the 19 industry sectors fell in trend terms in April: Automobiles & Vehicles; Business Services; Clothing Stores; Retail Stores and Government Services.
Encouragingly, spending continued to lift at Hotels & Motels in April, up by 0.4 per cent, the 40th consecutive month of gains.
Spending at Miscellaneous Stores also continued to rise, up by 0.9 per cent in April, the 57th consecutive month that spending lifted in the sector.
In annual terms in April, just four of the 19 industry sectors contracted: Mail Order/Telephone Order Providers, Airlines, Automobiles & Vehicles and Amusement & Entertainment.
At the other end of the scale, sectors with strongest annual growth in April included: Hotels & Motels (up 16.2 per cent); Miscellaneous Stores (up 12.6 per cent); and Government Services (up 10.9 per cent).
Sales fell in only two states/territories in April, Victoria (-0.9 per cent) and the Northern Territory (-0.2 per cent).
Of the other states and territories, NSW was the strongest (up 0.8 per cent) followed by South Australia (up 0.7 per cent), the ACT and Queensland (both up by 0.3 per cent), Tasmania (up 0.1 per cent) and Western Australia (up by less than 0.1 per cent).
In annual terms only Victoria had sales below a year ago (down 1.7 per cent). The strongest growth was in Tasmania (up 9.8 per cent), followed by the ACT and NSW (both up 8.1 per cent), Western Australia (up 6.6 per cent), the Northern Territory and South Australia (both up 5.2 per cent) and Queensland (up 4.3 per cent).
The BSI is a key measure of economy-wide spending, tracking the value of credit and debit card transactions processed through Commonwealth Bank point-of-sale terminals.
Find out more about the latest Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator
About the Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator