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ASX lower, retail sales jump

shopping trolley in a grocery store

The S&P/ASX 200 closed lower on Tuesday, dropping 57.00 points or 0.77% to 7,390.10.

In the US on Wednesday, inflation data is scheduled for release. US inflation is the highest in almost four decades, hitting 6.8% in the most recent data released in December 2021. Economists have attributed the rise in consumer prices over the past year to several factors, including supply chain breakdowns, labour shortages and a sudden burst of spending after widespread lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The worry going forward is Australia gets sucked into the global inflation.

Australian retail sales received a sustained boost as consumers emerged from lockdowns. There was another big jump in November which exceeded economists’ estimates. November retail sales rose by a seasonally adjusted 7.3% to $33.41bn according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. That followed a 4.9% increase in October. The November jump was more than twice Bloomberg’s consensus estimate of 3.6%.

Household spending is expected to grow at a more modest pace in 2022 as Australian lives return to normal after two years of Covid-19 related disruptions. Fitch Ratings estimates real household spending will grow 3.5% this year to $939.7bn as an easing of further restrictions supports a return to more regular consumer behaviour. That’s down from 5% growth estimated for 2021.

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