Our latest weekly data as of February 12 shows a strong recovery in spending since January.
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NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster commented
- Our latest weekly consumer tracking data through February 12 shows a strong recovery in spending since January, in line with lower omicron cases and an uptick in other measures of sentiment and mobility. Although the data is slightly off last week, the recent big gains have been maintained and the likely reason for the decline is the usual upward revision to data from the previous week. Consequently, the omicron-induced gap from mid-December to early February now appears to have essentially closed and hospitality is recording its highest readings since mid-2021.
- Overall, our consumption series (now seasonally adjusted) came in at 144.3 for the week ending February 12, 2022, using a 2019 base. This is down from to the previous week (150.2), but a substantial rise since the start of 2022 and above its level of a year ago (139.3). Retail trade stood at 147.5 last week, lower than the previous week (154.1) but higher than the same period in 2021 (140.8). The hotel industry continues its upward trend, standing at 127.9 last week. Although this was a little less than the previous week, there was a strong increase at the end of January. The index is now well above the same period in 2021 (118.9).
- A fortnight ago, we flagged the need for additional data through February to discern the trajectory of consumer sentiment, particularly with respect to hospitality. Fortunately, the data for the past two weeks has been very encouraging. Consumers are now spending more on bars, restaurants, pubs and accommodation, despite the continued circulation of covid. Australia will soon reopen to international tourists, although it’s likely to be a slow process.
- Our inbound credit data has softened a bit over the past week, although so far 2022 is outperforming 2021 and even 2019 before the pandemic.
For more details, please see NAB Data Insights (week ending February 12, 2022)