Australian retail sales surge on Black Friday bonanza,iPhone - <b>Technical Lobby</b>

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Australian retail sales surge on Black Friday bonanza,iPhone

SYDNEY: Australian retail sales boasted the biggest monthly rise in four years in November as consumers splashed out on Apple iPhones and Black Friday promotions, a major boost for an economy that had been struggling with sluggish spending.

The local dollar jumped a third of a U.S. cent to $0.7874 as the surprising strength helped counter concerns consumers had lapsed into a near-permanent depression.

Australian retail sales surge on Black Friday bonanza,iPhone

Thursday's figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed retail sales jumped 1.2 percent in November from October, when they rose a solid 0.5 percent. That was three times the market forecast and the steepest gain since early 2013.Sales were up 2.9 percent on a year earlier at a record seasonally adjusted high of A$26.38 billion ($20.75 billion). Gains were led by a hefty 4.5 percent rise in household goods and a 2.2 percent increase for other retailing.

"Seasonally adjusted sales in both these industries are influenced by the release of the iPhone X and the increasing popularity of promotions in November, including Black Friday sales," the ABS said in a note.

Consumer spending has been under pressure from record-high household debt and sluggish wage growth, one reason the Reserve Bank of Australia is in no rush to raise interest rates from record lows.Futures markets still imply around a 50-50 chance of a hike by September and are not fully priced for a rise from 1.5 percent until February next year.

The marked revival in sales in October and November greatly improved the outlook for gross domestic product growth in the fourth quarter, given household spending accounts for around 57 percent of annual economic output.Household consumption had expanded at its slowest pace since 2008 in the third quarter, marring an otherwise respectable annual growth outcome of 2.8 percent.

The retail series also showed rapid growth in online sales, which are only set to take a bigger share as Amazon set up shop late last year and is rapidly expanding its offerings.

The ABS measure showed online sales surged 22 percent in original terms in November to A$1.51 billion.
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