Australia May retail sales rose 0.1% from the previous month, delaying expectations, Business News & Top Stories

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SYDNEY (REUTERS) – Australian retail sales grew less than expected last month, with an instant coronavirus lockdown in the country’s second most populous state, Victoria, hampering demand, according to preliminary data released Monday, June 21 .

Retail turnover rose 0.1% in May from the previous month after jumping 1.1% in April, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The median forecasts of economists polled by Reuters had shown they expected an increase of 0.5%.

The final results will be released on July 5.

Australia has largely succeeded in curbing the coronavirus pandemic by imposing strict physical distancing measures and closing its international borders. However, it has been plagued by small outbreaks in different parts of the country, resulting in instant lockdowns and travel restrictions.

Sales in Victoria, which entered their fourth foreclosure last month since March last year, fell 1.5% with declines in all industries except food retail where spending increased before the lockdown.

Nationally, too, food retailing led the gains, offset by declines in household goods and clothing, footwear and personal accessories retailing.

A surprisingly strong rebound in consumer spending since the middle of last year, thanks to record borrowing costs and government budget generosity, has boosted the growth of Australia’s economy by A $ 2 trillion ( S $ 2,000 billion).

Analysts expect private consumption to remain strong for some time, driven by solid job growth, tax breaks for low and middle incomes, rising house prices and historically low mortgage rates .

Still, the Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to hold rates at an all-time high of 0.1% for a long time, pending a pick-up in inflation, which has since exceeded its target range of 2-3% since. several years. now.

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