Australian retail sales topped forecasts for a fifth straight month in December adding to evidence that consumer spending is reviving in time to help cushion the economy from a cooling mining boom.
Thursday’s data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics also showed the country boasted its biggest trade surplus in two years in December as exports rose beyond all expectations.
Despite all the talk of a Chinese slowdown, exports to the Asian colossus surged 29 percent to a record A$94 billion ($84 billion) for all of 2013. The upbeat news supported the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) decision earlier this week to shut the door on further rate cuts and lifted the local dollar a third of a U.S. cent to a one-month peak at $0.8980.
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