The latest release by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) suggests that new lending to the private sector accelerated modestly.
Overall, credit grew by 0.6% in February, up from 0.5% in January, leaving the annual growth rate at 6.6%.
This compares to 6.2% for the year to February 2015.
Unpacking that aggregate number, housing credit remained at 0.5% in February and was 7.3% annually, compared to 7.1% for the previous year.
Housing credit is fuelling a property bubble. For more than a year, the strength was concentrated in housing and business credit, offsetting persistent weakness in personal lending.
From a month earlier, housing credit rose by 0.5%, unchanged from January, leaving it 7.3% higher than a year earlier.
When businesses borrow they typically invest and that creates jobs and boosts GDP. Activity levels in Australia’s non-mining sectors are improving, credit to businesses grew by 0.7%, leaving it up 6.5% from February 2015. Aside from October 2015 where it grew 6.7%, the annual growth rate was the fastest seen since February 2009.
Though credit for housing and businesses was firm, personal credit fell by 0.1%, the second drop in succession, leaving it down 0.3% from a year earlier.
While it would be nice to see personal credit pick up a touch, the rest of the data would please the RBA. Growth in housing credit is moderating while that to businesses continues to trend higher, suggesting business conditions are picking up.