Spending above average in May

Economy-wide spending recorded above-average growth, rising 0.7 per cent in May – above the 0.4 per cent long-term average monthly growth rate – according to the Commonwealth Bank’s Business Sales Indicator for May.

“While there has been some concern around the state of the economy, growth in spending continues to increase,” said CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman.

“In fact, we haven’t seen stronger spending growth for almost 18 months.

“There was a large lift in spending on utilities, potentially reflecting higher household electricity and gas consumption and the payment of quarterly power bills.”

The retail sector saw spending growth of 1 per cent, second only to spending growth on utilities (1.5 per cent).

Spending on transportation also rose 1 per cent, while airlines saw 0.8 per cent growth, and service providers saw 0.7 per cent.

Not every category saw growth, however, with sales in amusement and entertainment down 1.2 per cent, and clothing sales down 0.3 per cent. Automobiles and vehicles, government services and mail order/telephone order providers all saw flat sales.

Sales grew in every state barring the Northern Territory, which fell 0.2 per cent. Victoria saw the strongest growth of 1.4 per cent, followed by Tasmania (0.7 per cent), Queensland (0.6 per cent), New South Wales and South Australia (0.5 per cent), the ACT (0.4 per cent) and Western Australia (0.2 per cent).

On an annual basis, spending grew from 5.7 per cent to 6 per cent in May, also above the 5.5 per cent long-term average pace of growth.

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