Australian June Retail Sales Rise

By James Glynn Features Dow Jones Newswires

Australian retail sales rose in June, supported by a recent strong improvement in the country's job market.

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Retail sales rose by 0.3% in June from May, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Friday. Economists had expected a 0.2% rise for the months.

Retail sales in the second quarter rose by 1.5%.

Australian consumers are under close watch amid concern that record household debts will stymie spending and slow the economy.

Still, the labor market has improved markedly in the past four months, led by a jump in the creation of full-time jobs over more casual positions.

The unemployment rate has also fallen, bringing relief for the Reserve Bank of Australia which had grown concerned when it rose toward 6.0% at the start of the year.

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Considerable headwinds for retail spending remain, however, not least record low wages growth and only modest levels of consumer confidence.

With the Australian dollar surging of late, the central bank has indicated it won't be raising interest rates any time soon, although it remains upbeat about the outlook for GDP growth and expects inflation to nudge higher over coming years.

-Write to James Glynn at james.glynn@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 03, 2017 21:51 ET (01:51 GMT)