Release Explanation: This release is a very important set of figures that make up a large percentage of consumer spending numbers. Retail sales are the measure of the total sales of goods and services by retail stores. Retail Sales is an important measure of consumer spending and inflationary pressures. A currency will be impacted by this report over time as it reveals the strength of the public in their ability, or desire, to spend. Steady increases in retail sales apply significant inflationary pressures to consumer prices. With retail trade being the foremost indicator for consumer spending, this figure is extremely important in understanding the economy.
Trade Desk Thoughts: Retail sales in Australia have increased by 0.2 percent in January which is higher than analysts’ forecasts of a -0.5 percent decrease but is sharply lower than Decembers 3.8 percent. In seasonally adjusted terms, food retailing, clothing and soft good retailing, cafes and restaurants had an increase in January while department stores, and household good retailing declined.
The Federal Government Economic Security Strategy Package implemented in December 2008 has impacted on Australian retail turnover. If the trend estimates in this publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for this irregular event, they would be likely to provide a misleading view of the underlying trend in retail activity. Until data is available in future months, it is not possible to determine the trend in retail turnover through the period affected by the stimulus package. As a result, the retail trend series have been suspended as at November 2008.
Forex Technical Reaction: The Australian dollar weakened slightly after this release, but the move was likely stymied by the upcoming interest rate decision due at 22:30 EST.