Retail sales hit pre-Omicron record | Liverpool City Champion
Retail sales soared 7.3% in November after last year’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions, but there are signs that the subsequent emergence of the Omicron variant has since cut spending,
The Australian Bureau of Statistics said retail growth in November was the fourth strongest monthly increase on record and took sales to their highest level ever at $ 33.4 billion.
The previous sales record was set in November 2020.
“Further easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Southeastern states and territories has allowed the retail industry to regain all of the lost momentum caused by the Delta outbreak,” said Ben James, director of quarterly economic statistics for ABS.
BIS Oxford Economics Senior Economist Sean Langcake expects the emergence of the highly infectious variant of Omicron to have limited impact on December sales figures, but it will pose a challenge in early 2022 .
“Consumer cautiousness will reduce in-store foot traffic, while disruption of supply chains and labor availability will further limit sales,” he said.
Separate data showed consumer confidence plummeted across Australia due to the rapid spread of the Omicron strain.
In the first release for 2022, the ANZ-Roy Morgan Weekly Consumer Confidence Index fell 2.2% from its pre-Christmas level, the last time the survey was conducted.
“The rapid increase in Omicron cases across Australia is likely responsible for the deteriorating outlook during the first week of January,” said David Plank, head of Australian economics at ANZ.
“Confidence has fallen in all the major capitals, Adelaide being the worst.”
Mr Plank noted that over the decade 2011-2020, consumer confidence rose 2.6% on average in the first survey in January.
“So this result is even lower than it looks,” he said.
Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers was unimpressed, saying Australians are once again paying the price for the Morrison government’s failures in handling the pandemic and the economy.
“Just a few weeks ago Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg were talking about the ‘real momentum’ of the recovery, but those gains have once again been wasted,” he told AAP.
However, the Confidence Survey found that respondents were still relatively satisfied with their own financial situation.
The “current financial conditions” opinions sub-index rose 1.4%, while the “future financial conditions” increased 0.7%.
“This potentially sets things up for a quick rebound once people become more confident about the health outcomes,” Plank said.
That said, opinions on “current economic conditions” fell 8.7% to the lowest level since September of last year, when the economy contracted after more than half of the population was locked out. .
The ABS also released international trade figures for November, which showed the surplus had narrowed to $ 9.4 billion after a downward revision of $ 10.8 billion in October,
Imports jumped 6%, surpassing a 2% increase in exports.
Associated Australian Press