March 15, 2023

NAB Economics Monthly Data Insights – February 2023

Our monthly transaction data indicates that spending was broadly flat in February.


  • Consumer spending was flat in February after rebounding in January. Retail was flat, and spending on essential services and vehicles & fuel declined in the month, but other spending increased.
  • Goods and services spending continued to rebalance, with a small decline in goods offset by a small increase in services spending. Similarly, there was a small decline in discretionary spending and small rise in non-discretionary.
  • Business credits were also broadly flat, up just 0.1% in February (or 0.6% excluding mining and agriculture). Credits are up 7.6% from a year ago but have been broadly steady over recent months.

Comments from NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster

“Our monthly transaction data indicates that spending was broadly flat in February, consistent with our assessment that consumption has held up but is unlikely to be able to sustain its strong recent growth rates.”

“So far there are few signs of significant shifts between discretionary and non-discretionary spending categories, albeit these distinctions are difficult to analyse in industry-level data.”

“While we expect inflation likely peaked in Q4, price rises are likely still contributing to nominal spending growth and, as such, the flat outcome for February implies a soft outcome for real consumption. However, these data remain subject to significant seasonal effects so it will take time to get a clear read of consumption trends.”

For further details please see NAB Monthly Data Insights (February 2023)