Australia’s Retail Sales drop 0.3% in Jan, surprise negatively – AUD/USD off the highs

Australia's consumption, as represented by Retail Sales, unexpectedly dropped in the month of January, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported on Friday.

The retail sales arrived at -0.3% month-on-month (MoM), compared to the forecast of 0.0% and down from previous month's reading of -0.5%. 

March key points (via ABS)

Current prices 

The trend estimate rose 0.1% in January 2020. This follows a rise of 0.1% in December 2019, and a rise of 0.2% in November 2019.

The seasonally adjusted estimate fell 0.3% in January 2020. This follows a fall of 0.7% in December 2019, and a rise of 1.0% in November 2019.

In trend terms, Australian turnover rose 2.3% in January 2020 compared with January 2019.

The following industries rose in trend terms in January 2020: Food retailing (0.2%), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.1%), and Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.1%). Household goods retailing (0.0%), and Other retailing (0.0%) were relatively unchanged. Department stores (-0.3%) fell in trend terms in January 2020.

The following states and territories rose in trend terms in January 2020: Queensland (0.3%), Victoria (0.2%), Tasmania (0.7%), and the Northern Territory (0.1%). South Australia (0.0%), and Western Australia (0.0%) were relatively unchanged. New South Wales (-0.1%), and the Australian Capital Territory (-0.2%) fell in trend terms in January 2020.

Separately, the ABS said that the bushfires caused negative impacts across NSW, Victoria and ACT.

No apparent impact from coronavirus in Jan but expected to impact in following months, it added.

AUD/USD falls from highs

AUD/USD drops over 10-pips from daily highs of 0.6624 on a negative surprise on the Australian Retail Sales data. The spot manages to hold above the 0.66 handle amid risk reset following a coronavirus-led blood bath in the US markets. 

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