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Industry News


04 Feb 2020

After the bush fires, Australia's retailers now face Coronavirus fears

After the bush fires, Australia's retailers now face Coronavirus fears
A man carries several shopping bags as he prepares to hunker down for the imminent rush to grab supplies as he walks along George Street in Sydney's central business district
Australian retailers suffered their worst month in nearly 2-1/2 years in December as shoppers were discouraged by bushfires that blazed along the country’s southeast though spending during the quarter was surprisingly stronger.

While exporters were expected enjoyed a solid end to 2019, the welcome news was tempered by a warning from Prime Minister Scott Morrison of a “significant” hit to Australia’s economy from China’s rapidly-spreading coronavirus outbreak.

Retail sales dropped 0.5% in December, the worst monthly performance since August 2017, to A$27.77 billion ($18.75 billion) when economists polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.2% fall.

Encouragingly, however, figures for November were upwardly revised to a brisk 1% gain while quarterly data showed inflation-adjusted sales rose by a larger-than-expected 0.5% following a 0.1% decline in the September quarter.

The pick-up in volumes implied household consumption added modestly to economic growth in the final quarter of last year, a welcome sign for policymakers.

Separate data showed Australian exporters had another solid month in December, suggesting exports too added to GDP growth in the December quarter.





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