Market update

Retail trade and home building approvals rose more than economists expected, while a survey showed the troubled services sector has stabilised.

Despite that, convincing evidence of a sustained recovery in the non-mining parts of the economy remains elusive.

The headline act was the seasonally adjusted retail trade figures from the ABS, which showed a strong 1.3 per cent rise in February, adding to a 1.2 per cent increase in January.

Building approvals rise

Building approvals rose strongly in February, although economists caution against reading too much into a single month’s result.

Approvals for the construction of new homes and units rose 3.1 per cent in February, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said.

The result was above market forecasts of a 2.5 per cent improvement and represented a strong bounce back from January’s two per cent fall.