Big­ger spend by con­sumers

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

RE­TAIL sales have risen for a sec­ond straight month in May, rais­ing hopes of a re­cov­ery in con­sumer sen­ti­ment that could help lift Aus­tralia’s weak eco­nomic growth.

Re­tail spend­ing rose by a sea­son­ally ad­justed 0.6 per cent in the month to $ 26.08 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to data re­leased by the Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics.

That beat mar­ket ex­pec­ta­tions of a mod­est 0.2 per cent rise, and fol­lows an in­crease of 1.0 per cent in April, the big­gest jump in monthly spend­ing in 2 ½ years.

The sus­tained gains raise the ques­tion on whether the slump in Aus­tralia’s re­tail in­dus­try is over, CBA se­nior economist Gareth Aird said.

House­hold goods spend­ing rose by a strong 2.2 per cent, spread across gains in elec­tri­cal and elec­tronic goods, fur­ni­ture, house­wares, hard­ware, and build­ing and gar­den sup­plies. BENDIGO and Ade­laide Bank is rais­ing rates on in­ter­est- only mort­gages, fol­low­ing sim­i­lar moves by the ma­jor lenders.

The re­gional lender will raise vari­able in­ter­est rates by 0.3 per cent for its ex­ist­ing in­tere­stonly owner- oc­cu­pier cus­tomers and by 0.4 per cent for its in­ter­est- only in­vestors, ef­fec­tive July 14.

The hit is harder for Bendigo’s new busi­ness cus­tomers seek­ing in­ter­est- only vari­able rates, who will find in­creases up to 80 ba­sis points, or 0.8 per cent with fixed in­ter­est- only rates in­creas­ing by 0.1 per cent to 0.4 per cent.

Bendigo’s new busi­ness in­vest­ment prin­ci­pal and in­ter­est vari­able rates will go down by 0.15 per cent.

The de­ci­sion comes as the Re­serve Bank held its bench­mark in­ter­est rate at the record low of 1.5 per cent for the eleventh straight month.

NEXT LEVEL: Pat Brady in front of the newly painted Premise of­fice build­ing on the cor­ner of Sturt and Den­ham streets. Pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

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