NAB reveals the latest on consumer spending

Fairly strong growth recorded in July and August

NAB reveals the latest on consumer spending


By Mina Martin

Consumer spending has continued to be resilient, with July and August both showing fairly strong growth overall, according to NAB’s latest transaction data.

NAB Monthly Data Insights for August showed a 0.8% month-on-month uptick in total spending in August, following a 1.1% lift in July (revised from 0.5%). These changes meant total spending was now up 2.2% in three-month-average terms and up 6.4% year-on-year.

Retail spending was more subdued, climbing 0.4% over the month in August. Total retail spending was 1% higher compared to the three-month-average and 3.4% y/y.

Spending on non-essentials increased in August, with fuel price changes contributing to the discretionary spending rise. Non-discretionary spending, on the other hand, eased. Both discretionary and non-discretionary spending were higher in three-month average terms.

Essential services saw a -1.3% m/m drop in spending while the “other spending” category and vehicles and fuel spending both had increases of 1.1% m/m and 6.8%, respectively.

Across the goods categories, total spending was up 1.3% m/m. Spending across services likewise increased but by a lower 0.3%. Spending across discretionary categories was positive while non-discretionary spending declined.

Spending has continued to grow across retail categories as well as in key discretionary sectors such as arts, recreation, and travel. There was also a large rise in spending on fuel in August as petrol prices rose in the month,” said Alan Oster, NAB chief economist.

“Spending on essential services like healthcare, education, and utilities fell in the month with energy subsidies possibly playing some role, though other factors are likely also contributing to the volatility here.”

Across the states, consumer spending increased in all except WA and NT. Spending was also up in all states in three-month average terms with growth strongest in the ACT at 2.7% and weakest in Queensland and Tasmania at 0.9%, the NAB Monthly Data Insights for August showed.

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