Electronic card spending had another soft month in July!

Retail electronic card spending was flat for a second month running in July – mainly due to a 0.6% decline in fuel spending (consistent with an estimated seasonally adjusted drop in petrol prices over the month), and a 2.2% decline in vehicle-related card spending (a volatile category that covers only a small fraction of total vehicle-related retail activity).

Excluding these items, the ‘core’ retail category was up 0.5% over the month, maintaining a 1.2% 3-month-average pace. Most items in this group more than made up for a weak June – consumables were up 0.3%, durables up 0.9%, and clothing rose a whopping 1.7% – perhaps a delayed lift as the winter chill set in. Only hospitality was down (-0.6%), breaking a  10-month run of increases.

Outside the retail categories electronic spending remained weak, with spending on services down for the second month in a row, and other non-retail items (including wholesaling and travel-related spending) unwinding their July gains.

Felix Delbruck, Senior Economist, Westpac Bank