Australian retail sales rose 0.5% in October from September the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday.
Sales increased in all states, led by higher spending on cafes, restaurants and clothing.
Continue Reading Below
The rise was slightly higher than the 0.3% gain forecast by economists ahead of the release. The September result was revised up slightly to a gain of 0.1%. It was originally flat.
The October figure was the strongest since May, helping ease concern that spending has stalled across the economy in recent months. Consumers are grappling with huge household debt, record low wages growth and a slack job market.
The consumer is one of the key risks to Australia's economic outlook for 2018. At nearly 60% of the economy, the outlook for consumption is central to growth forecasts.
More recently, gasoline prices have surged, rising more than 4% in both October and November. At the same time, house price growth is slowing, denting wealth creation.
The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to keep interest rates on hold at a record low 1.5% in a policy decision due 0330 GMT, citing soft wages growth and a lack of inflation pressure.
-Write to James Glynn at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 04, 2017 19:50 ET (00:50 GMT)