NAB Economics Data Insights – week ending 29 January 2022

While the past two weeks’ data is a little less encouraging than our previous release, there does not appear to be a major deterioration.

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

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NAB Chief Economist, Alan Oster commented

  • A fortnight ago, our first consumer data report for the year surprised on the upside, with consumer spending certainly omicron-affected, but not calamitously so. While the past two weeks’ data is a little less encouraging, with a small unwinding of the overall series and continued weakness in hospitality, there does not appear to be a major deterioration. All states saw spending slow last week, even Western Australia, which had shown stronger readings earlier in January.
  • Overall, our (now seasonally adjusted) consumption series stood at 131.6 for the week ending 29 January 2022, using a 2019 base. This was a decline from the week prior (137.7), but still above its level a year ago (128.2). A fortnight ago, we speculated that retail and hospitality could be moving in different directions, as omicron-cautious consumers shunned bars and restaurants. Instead we have seen spending in retail ease moderately, while hospitality remains in challenging territory. Retail stood at 133.5 last week, lower than the week prior (139.7) but above the same time in 2021 (127.6). Hospitality however stood at 107.7, down slightly on the week prior (108.4) but above the same time in 2021 (103.8).
  • Various movement and activity surveys are now showing increased travel within capital cities. Part of this is the return from holidays but some may be reduced covid concerns. As we now seasonally adjust the data, seasonal patterns like summer holidays should have less of an impact on the results. We will need to see some further data through February to discern the trajectory of consumer sentiment, particularly when it comes to hospitality.
  • Our inward credits data eased a little last week, although so far 2022 is performing well compared to January in 2020 and 2021.The inward credits data show no clear signals regarding the impact of omicron so far, but we will continue to monitor how these trend in 2022

For further details please see NAB Data Insights (week ending 29 Jan 2022)

*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.