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Westpac: Card Activity Firms Again Leading Into Sales High Season

AUSTRALIA

Westpac note that “the Westpac Card Tracker Index continued to firm over the two weeks to Nov 19, rising 1.2pts to 136.8. The Index remains at a high level, implying that consumer-related card activity is nearly 37% above pre-pandemic levels in 2019. However, the underlying detail continues to show a flattening profile that is consistent with slower growth in nominal spending and a likely stalling in real, inflation-adjusted terms.”

  • “The detail shows a firming in discretionary categories over the last two weeks. Of note, retail spending has begun to pick-up ahead of Black Friday and Cyber-week sales over the next fortnight. A flattening in hospitality spending has also been offset by a lift in card spending on professional services. Essentials categories, particularly goods, are acting as a drag on overall spending momentum, albeit with the segment still showing positive gains.”
“The upcoming Black Friday and Cyber-week sales period is shaping as a big ‘litmus test’ for the Australian consumer. Activity has held up relatively well to date despite intensifying cost of living and rate rise pressures. The next few weeks will give a pointer to how well this is carrying into the sales ‘high season’ that runs from now through to Christmas.”
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Westpac note that “the Westpac Card Tracker Index continued to firm over the two weeks to Nov 19, rising 1.2pts to 136.8. The Index remains at a high level, implying that consumer-related card activity is nearly 37% above pre-pandemic levels in 2019. However, the underlying detail continues to show a flattening profile that is consistent with slower growth in nominal spending and a likely stalling in real, inflation-adjusted terms.”

  • “The detail shows a firming in discretionary categories over the last two weeks. Of note, retail spending has begun to pick-up ahead of Black Friday and Cyber-week sales over the next fortnight. A flattening in hospitality spending has also been offset by a lift in card spending on professional services. Essentials categories, particularly goods, are acting as a drag on overall spending momentum, albeit with the segment still showing positive gains.”
“The upcoming Black Friday and Cyber-week sales period is shaping as a big ‘litmus test’ for the Australian consumer. Activity has held up relatively well to date despite intensifying cost of living and rate rise pressures. The next few weeks will give a pointer to how well this is carrying into the sales ‘high season’ that runs from now through to Christmas.”