Retail driving a flat economy

May retail sales in Australia beat February's, go figure

Opinion
It seems any relaxation of social-distancing measures will bolster retail sales. May's retail reports have it a better month than February, before panic buying set in.

It seems any relaxation of social-distancing measures will bolster retail sales. May's retail reports have it a better month than February, before panic buying set in.

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Retail trade and Australia's unemployment are both on the increase, where's the sense in that?

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Equity markets have recovered in the past week with the S&P 500 and S&P ASX200 both two per cent stronger week on week.

The rally comes amidst news of an outbreak of coronavirus cases in Beijing and increasing hospitalisation rates in the US.

California recently reported its highest daily infection rate to date.

Netflix shares were up approximately 8.5pc week on week off the back of this news.

Despite the coronavirus headlines, some positive economic data has been reported with increased Australian retail sales for May of 16.3pc, with large increases in clothing and food retail sales.

This is unsurprising given social-distancing restrictions were relaxed during May.

Interestingly, retail sales are now 4pc better than February, before the panic buying that occurred in March.

In comparison, UK retail sales were up 10.1pc, which is most likely a reflection that there was limited relaxation of social-distancing restrictions during May.

Furthermore in Australia, employment fell by 228,000 meaning that during the past two months 835,000 people have lost their jobs. This increased the unemployment rate to 7.1pc.

Economic data such as this will have an impact on the future earnings of companies.

In the next couple of months companies will begin to report their earnings for the past six months and that will illuminate the current recession's impact.

Altium Limited provided a market update that its financial year 2020 will miss market consensus, clear evidence of the pandemic's impact on company earnings.

As mentioned in a previous article, Altium Limited products facilitate and aid in the design of electronic products such as printed circuit boards.

The group's products are used by telecommunications, automotive, defence, science and consumer electronics industries.

The flagship product is known for excellence in native 3D Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Computer-Aided Design.

In response to coronavirus the company reduced its pricing and extended payment terms in an effort to increase sales.

While revenue growth has been solid, it will still fall short of the market's expectations. Altium's share price closed down 7.6pc the day of its announcement.

  • This article does not take into account the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any particular person. Before acting on any advice contained in this article, you should assess whether it is appropriate in light of your own financial circumstances or contact your financial adviser. Christopher Hindmarsh is an adviser at JBWere Limited.
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