NAB Economics Data Insights – week ending 17 April 2021

Retail a little better (but still soft) and hospitality is showing strong performance after a very tough 2020.

By

In this podcast, NAB Chief Economist, Alan Oster gives you a 10 minute summary of our analysis of consumer spending.

Listen to the full podcast now. If listening on a mobile device, click listen in browser.

NAB Chief Economist, Alan Oster commented

  • The headline results for the week ending 17 April 2021 are broadly encouraging, if slightly soft. Consumption data was better last week and now back to around where it was at the start of the year. Adjusting for seasonal factors it is still a little soft though. Retail was a little better (but still soft) and hospitality is showing strong performance after a very tough 2020. Inward credits also enjoyed encouraging results last week and importantly, there are no signs (yet) that the end of JobKeeper is hitting unemployment data. Claimant count fell to 7.9%, the best result for 12 months. Our results are discussed in a little more detail below.
  • The timing of Easter this year has made weekly seasonal adjustment challenging. In Index terms (2019 base), for the week ending 17 April 2021, the overall series (+126.9) was well above its level 52 weeks prior (+92) on a weekly basis, which was in the middle of the April 2020 drop in total consumption. In year-on-year growth terms, growth is up (37.9%). But this stands relative to a period a year prior where overall growth continued to slide (-16.5%), making y/y data less useful at present. Using a base reset at the start of the year to get some idea of seasonality, the overall index (102.7) is currently just above the start of the year – i.e. up about 2.7% from week one. Comparing this to the same week in 2019 (110.2) – i.e. up 10.2% – it is clear that the softness in consumption since the start of 2021 has continued but may be levelling out.
  • On the same basis, Retail Trade (95) has improved from a week prior but remains 5% lower than at the start of the year, compared to 2019 (107.3) – over 7% above week 1 of that year. The index for Hospitality (103.1) slowed relative to a week prior (revised +106.5) but is well above the index value in 2019 (93.6), and of course 2020 (37.7).
  • In index terms, all states are still up strongly relative to where they were before the pandemic began (Jan 2019 base). NSW (+129.4) and Vic (+128.1) lead using this metric, but given the recent convergence, there is not a significant gap between the states, with the ACT (+122.5) in 8th place – still well above the 2019 base.
  • Overall inward credits growth continued last week, up 3.9% on a six-week rolling y/y % growth basis. Once again, this largely reflects trends a year ago rather than any signs of strength or weakness now.

For further details please see NAB data insights (week ending 17 April 2021)

*During these extraordinary times, NAB has taken the decision to publish aggregated customer data categorised by industry segment with the view to helping provide clarity around which segments of the economy have been most affected by the broader macroeconomic trends at play. NAB takes data privacy very seriously. All customer transaction data has been aggregated and no individual’s data is specifically identified or analysed as part of this process. The data used in this report will not be sold or made publicly available, but insights from the data will be shared with the Australian people.