Australian retailers welcome the RBA’s decision to hold rates

After the weakening of consumer sentiment post-Budget, retailers have welcomed the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to keep rates on hold for another month after its August meeting yesterday.

Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) CEO Margy Osmond attributed the long period of stability - now more than a year since the RBA last lowered the cash rate - for helping the retail sector.

Retail spending for June showed the largest rise since January, with an increase of 0.6% for the month. Osmond said “if June’s strength continues and momentum carries forward in the second half of the year, we would expect retail sales to be up around the 6% mark (year-on-year) by the end of the year.”

Osmond advised while there is optimism about this long period of stability, both retailers and consumers are cautious that this may come to an end in the not too distant future.

“Retailers will be keeping a watchful eye on economic data out later this week, and across the second half of the year, in the hope there are signs of stronger economic activity. A pickup in the non-mining sectors in particular will give business and consumers reason to be more positive about the future.”

Osmond said there are several factors that the RBA Board will take into consideration for future rate decisions including inflation (now sitting at the top of the RBA’s 2-3% target range), the persistently high Australian dollar, solid employment data and rising house prices. 

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