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Australia January Retail Sales Climb 1.8%

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The value of retail sales in Australia jumped a seasonally adjusted 1.8 percent on month in January, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Monday - standing at A$32.491 billion.

That exceeded expectations for an increase of 0.2 percent following the 4.4 percent contraction in December.

Food retailing had the largest rise in sales this month up 2.2 per cent which is the largest monthly rise since July 2021 with sales remaining elevated at their fourth highest level in the series. This went alongside a 0.8 per cent fall in cafes, restaurants, and takeaway food services as some consumers opted to stay home.

Other industries which saw rises this month include other retailing (4.5 per cent), department stores (4.9 per cent) and household goods retailing (0.6 per cent), while clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing fell 1.0 per cent as the only other industry to fall.

With tightening restrictions favored over lockdowns during the latest COVID-19 wave, sales across the states and territories all rose this month with Victoria, up 2.5 percent experiencing the largest rise, followed by Western Australia (4.7 percent), New South Wales (1.0 percent), South Australia (3.1 percent) and Queensland (0.4 percent).

Also on Monday:
• The ABS said that company gross profits in Australia were up a seasonally adjusted 2.0 percent on quarter in the fourth quarter of 2021, in line with expectations and slowing from 4.0 percent in the three months prior. Profits were up 13.0 percent on year.

Business inventories rose 1.1 percent on quarter, beating expectations for a flat reading following the 1.9 percent drop in Q3. Inventories were up 2.2 percent on year.

Manufacturing goods and services were up 0.8 percent on quarter and 1.6 percent on year, while wholesale trade gained 4.6 percent on quarter and 2.2 percent on year.

Wages and salaries jumped 1.9 percent on quarter and 5.5 percent on year.
• The Reserve Bank of Australia said that private sector credit in Australia was up 7.6 percent on year in January, accelerating from 7.2 percent in December. On a monthly basis, private sector credit rose 0.6 percent, easing from 0.8 percent a month earlier.

Housing credit was up 0.7 percent on month and 7.7 percent on year, while personal credit fell 0.8 percent on month and 3.8 percent on year and business credit gained 0.6 percent on month and 9.0 percent on year.

Broad money was up 0.2 percent on month and 8.9 percent on year.

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