BSI: Spending momentum maintained

paypass, contactless, payment, POS, credit cardStronger spending at retail stores has helped drive a boost in economy wide spending in March, according to the Commonwealth Bank’s latest Business Sales Indicator (BSI).

Spending lifted by 0.7 per cent in trend terms in March, its 14th consecutive month of growth and the fifth month of 0.7 -0.8 per cent increases.

Retail store spending was singled out as a highlight in March, growing by 0.7 per cent month-on-month and, combined with clothing stores, up 11.3 per cent annually.

Travel sales also helped drive the economy-wide increase, with motel and hotel spending up 0.9 per cent in March.

Annual trend growth in the BSI increased from 6.7 per cent in February to 7.2 per cent – the fastest growth since 2015 and more than double the decade average of 3.2 per cent.

Although the seasonally adjusted BSI measure fell by 0.1 per cent in March, giving up some of the 1.6 per cent gain in February and a 1.2 per cent rise in January.

Commsec chief economist Craig James said that the increase in hotel and motel spending highlighted strength in travel, while home building and buying was driving strength in other areas.

“The lift in spending at hotels and motels highlights the strength of domestic and international travel and that Australian consumers are very much focussed on experiences,” James said.

“Spending grew fastest in March in those states where activity is being propelled by home building and buying.”

The BSI tracks the value of credit and debit card transactions that are processed through Commonwealth Bank merchant facilities.

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