The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

ANZ: why monthly retail data are giving you a bum-steer on consumer spending

ANZ explains with reference to the latest GDP data:

"Today’s data sheds more light on exactly what we are purchasing and raises some interesting questions about how ‘constrained’ households really are (although clearly there are distributional issues across households to take into consideration).

As has been the pattern for some time, the strongest growth in household spending occurred in categories that are outside the retailing segment. In real terms, retail-related spending was flat, while non-retail spending grew by 0.8% q/q. But growth in non-retail spending growth categories was strong across a mix of discretionary and non-discretionary categories, indicating that consumers might not be as ‘cautious’ as has been supposed. In particular, real growth in recreation and entertainment (+1.0%q/q), transport services (+2.7%) and the operation of private vehicles (+1.3%) indicate a continuing shift in spending preferences from goods to services. Leakage to international internet sales and international travel (both of which are known to be rising) is an unknown quantity, since only spending on goods and services within Australia is captured in these data."