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."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

CBA: Aussie consumer spending booms in May!

Another bitter pill for those seeking to mislead us about the state of the Australian economy by promoting bad data (and ignoring the good). As regular readers would know, I have sought to remedy this imbalance. CBA report today that overall spending across the economy was very strong in May:

According to the latest Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator (BSI), economy-wide spending lifted by 1.9 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms in May...It was the third increase in sales in the past four months. Spending is now up 5.9 per cent on a year ago – the biggest annual gain in over two years (since January 2010)...

In annual terms, four of the 20 industry sectors contracted in May, a similar result to both March and April. The weakest sector was Hotels and Motels (down 6.7 per cent) followed Automobiles and Vehicle Rentals (down 0.6 per cent).

At the other end of the scale, spending was strongest at Amusement and Entertainment (up 21.2 per cent), followed by Mail Order/Telephone Order Providers (up 16.7 per cent), Retail stores (up 12.2 per cent), Contracted Services (up 8.2 per cent), Clothing Stores (up 7.5 per cent) and Transportation (up 7.0 per cent).

Two of the states and territories recorded weaker sales in trend terms in May. Sales in Tasmania fell by 0.4 per cent while sales fell 0.1 per cent in the Northern Territory. The strongest result was in South Australia (up 0.9 per cent) followed by Queensland (up 0.7 per cent), ACT (0.5 per cent), NSW (up 0.3 per cent), Western Australia (up 0.2 per cent) and Victoria (up 0.1 per cent),

The trend BSI has now risen for 11 straight months in Queensland and for 10 straight months in South Australia, NSW, Western Australia and Victoria. After eight straight months of gains, sales in the Northern Territory have fallen for the past three months.

In annual terms, no state or territory had sales below a year ago. Strongest growth was posted in South Australia (up 11.8 per cent), followed by Queensland (up 9.1 per cent) and Western Australia (up 6.9 per cent). After 22 months of declines, sales in NSW have now risen in annual terms for the past two months.

The Commonwealth BSI is obtained by tracking the value of credit and debit card transactions processed through Commonwealth Bank merchant facilities. And in line with the practice of the Bureau of Statistics with its retail trade data, seasonally adjusted and trend estimates of the BSI are obtained by applying statistical software. The seasonally adjusted and trend BSI results are derived from the same SEASABS statistical software. This allows analysis of the broader underlying trends that may be hidden in the raw data.