The newsagency AAP has reported the ABS retail sales figures for December as rising “only timidly” adding that “economists say” the Christmas trading period was impacted by the Queensland floods.

JP Morgan economist Helen Kevans said flooding in Queensland had seen retail sales decline for the month.

“In December we had the impact of the floods affecting sentiment,” she said.

“At the same time, petrol prices were higher. All this impacted on the numbers.”

However, Ms Kevans said she did not expect the weaker than anticipated numbers to have a sustained impact on the board of the central bank, who on Friday reiterated their view the floods that would not have a lasting impact on the domestic economy.

“The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) was expecting some weakness in these numbers,” Ms Kevans said.

Reading that you might have expected retail sales in Queensland to have led the way in limiting growth for the month to 0.2% compared with the 0.5% predicted by economists surveyed by AAP. Well, you would be wrong. The following states and territories fell in trend terms: New South Wales (-0.2%), South Australia (-0.4%), the Northern Territory (-1.2%) and Tasmania (-0.1%). Queensland (0.0%) was relatively unchanged. Victoria (0.1%), Western Australia (0.1%) and the Australian Capital Territory (0.3%) rose in trend terms.
The following states and territories rose in seasonally adjusted terms: Victoria (0.5%), New South Wales (0.4%), Queensland (0.3%) and the Northern Territory (0.2%). South Australia (-1.3%), Tasmania (-1.3%), Western Australia (-0.2%) and the Australian Capital Territory (-0.5%) fell in seasonally adjusted terms.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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