Daily Commentary BY THE CURVE TEAM –

Trade and Retail Underperform

6th of April, 2021

The trade surplus and retail spending disappointed in February.

January’s trade balance delivered a big upside surprise, with an initial surplus of $10.1 billion revised down to $9.6 bn. In February, it reverted back to $7.5 billion, as exports fell 1.3% and imports rose 5.2%.

The big jump in imports reversed falls from December and January. Values for both imports and exports are now near pre-covid levels.

Retail sales were also down over February which confirmed the preliminary numbers. Sales were down 0.8% as WA fell 5.4% and Victoria fell 3%.

The falls in both states coincided with covid cases. By contrast NSW and Queensland, who had covid scares in January, were up 0.8% and 1.1% respectively.

Today the RBA have their board meeting for March. There is no change expected across their multiple tools.

Otherwise, it is a quiet week for data. Job ads for March released today are noteworthy and will indicate if a strong jobs market will help offset the end of JobKeeker.

Josh Stewart

Associate - Money Markets