Australian weak retail sales, jobs point to more stimulus

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    SYDNEY- Australian retail sales surprisingly fell last quarter while growth in September was weaker-than-expected, underlining the need for even more stimulus to jumpstart the slowing economy.

    Retail sales inched up 0.2 percent in September after a respectable 0.4 percent gain in August, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected an increase of 0.5 percent.

    Quarterly data showed sales slipped 0.1 percent in inflation-adjusted terms in the three months to September following an already sedate June quarter. Analysts were looking for a 0.2 percent rise.

    Retail volumes have now recorded falls in three of the past four quarters to be down 0.2 percent from a year ago. The last time annual volumes were this weak was in the early 1990s recession.

    In another worrying sign for the economy, separate data on Monday showed Australian job advertisements in newspapers and on the internet fell 1 percent in October to the lowest level in more than 2-1/2 years.

    The gloomy figures knocked the Australian dollar off a near three-month peak to $0.6904.

    “The fall in real retail sales in the third quarter underlines that the RBA still has more work to do,” said Marcel Thieliant, Singapore-based senior economist at Capital Economists. – Reuters