ECONOMY

INSIGHTS, TRENDS AND CASE STUDIES

A healthy growth outlook but some concerns about the consumer.

The NAB Rural Commodities Index rose 1.8% in October, following a 6.5% jump in September.

The AUD/USD continued its downtrend in October, reaching a fresh low of 0.7023 on the 26th of the month, a level not seen since February 2016.

In seasonally adjusted terms, at 0.3%, online retail sales slowed in September. The 12 months to growth rate is also slower.

US economy continued to grow strongly in Q3.

Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) business conditions edged lower in Q3 2018 to +11, while SME business confidence fell to +2pts. While conditions have eased over the past two quarters, they remain well above average, though confidence has declined to below average levels.

Anxieties around future spending and savings plans, household finances, the economy, financial concerns and how these are impacting spending behaviours and levels of financial hardship.

The business conditions index decreased 2pts to +13 in 2018 Q3, but remains well above its long-run average. Business confidence also fell, declining 4pts to +3 index points, a little below its historical average.

The NAB Cashless Retail Sales Index gained 0.2% in September on a month-on-month basis, its weakest result since April this year. Five out of six major categories grew in the month; while other retailing contracted.

The lure of cash remains, even as younger Australians embrace cashless payments.

In US dollar terms, the NAB non-rural commodity price index rose marginally in Q3 2018 – increasing by 0.4% qoq. The strong upturn in the first quarter of this year contributed to a much more significant increase in year-on-year terms – up by 8.2%.

The bigger picture – a global and Australian economic perspective.

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