THERE are signs that a recovery in spending appears to be under way.
According to the Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator (BSI) the value of credit and debit card transactions processed through Commonwealth Bank point-of-sale terminals rose by 0.7% in trend terms in February.
That follows 0.9% gains in December and January.
According to Commonwealth local executive Matt Comyn, business remains cautious despite the positive results.
"The figures demonstrate that the recovery is gathering momentum and the willingness to spend is becoming more defined every month," Mr Comyn said.
"Consumers are showing resilience against the uncertainty we have been experiencing in domestic and global markets.
"The latest figures reveal that although their spending habits are still relatively meek by pre-GFC standards, the intention to continue spending is there and that bodes well for the economy.
"What needs to be taken into consideration, however, is that confidence on the whole is still shaky.
"Despite this solid growth, consumers are spooked easily and that means that any significant negative economic news has the ability to change things very quickly."
The Commonwealth's chief economist, Craig James, said that the recovery was continuing to be framed by the performance at a sector level and across states and territories.
"When you look behind the headline figure at what is happening at a sector level, the overall picture is much more positive than what we saw over much of 2011," Mr James said.
"The sectors where we had been hearing the most negative news were in fact the key beneficiaries of increased spending in February.
"Wholesale distributors and manufacturers posted positive gains, as did retail stores and clothing stores, both of which have been doing it tough."
Only three of the industry sectors - hotels and motels, mail order and telephone order providers and business services - fell in February, with two other sectors - automobile and vehicles and miscellaneous services - broadly flat.