Economy wide spending has recorded its largest monthly increase in four and a half years according to the latest Business Sales Indicator (BSI) report released by the Commonwealth Bank.


The BSI tracks economy wide spending by examining the value of credit and debit card transactions processed through Commonwealth Bank systems, accounting for around 30 per cent of the Australian market.


The seasonally-adjusted increase marks the biggest monthly gain in 4½ years and follows on from solid increases in May and June but declines in July and August. In a further boost for businesses, economy-wide spending is up 6.9 per cent on a year ago, after being up 3.4 per cent in the year to August.


According to Adam Bennett, Executive General Manager, Local Business Banking, Commonwealth Bank, while the rebound is positive for businesses, it remains to be seen if this increase can maintain momentum over the coming months.


“There was a significant rebound in spending in September, which saw the biggest monthly gain in over four years. However, while this is an encouraging result, businesses should be mindful that the data is volatile and presently consumers are not displaying any meaningful or consistent spending trends.


“Due to the ongoing inconsistencies we’ve experienced in recent months, it is as important as ever for businesses to have solid plans in place, and remain prudent as consumers continue to show signs of caution,” said Mr Bennett. 


Just one of the States and Territories recorded weaker sales in trend terms in September. Sales in NSW fell by 0.3 per cent. The strongest results were in South Australia and Tasmania (both up 0.8 per cent) followed by Northern Territory (up 0.6 per cent), Queensland and the ACT (both up 0.2 per cent), and Victoria (up 0.1 per cent). Sales were flat in Western Australia.


The trend BSI has now risen for 16 straight months in Northern Territory, for 15 straight months in Queensland, for 14 straight months in South Australia and 12 straight months in the ACT.


In annual terms, no State or Territory had sales below a year ago. Strongest growth was posted in South Australia (up 16.9 per cent), followed by ACT (up 12.4 per cent), Queensland (up 9.9 per cent), Northern Territory (up 7.9 per cent) and Western Australia (up 7.4 per cent)