Australian retail sales unexpectedly declined in December, the first drop in six months, as consumers spent less at grocers and on dining out in an economy where employment growth stalled last year.
Sales slipped 0.1 percent from a month earlier, when they rose a revised 0.1 percent, the Bureau of Statistics said in Sydney today. The result compares with the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 26 economists for a 0.2 percent gain.
The report validates Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Steven’s decision to lower the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point on Nov. 1 and Dec. 6 to help revive household demand. The central bankÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s board meets tomorrow to decide on rates, and most economists predict a third straight reduction.
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