NAB CEO Ross McEwan this morning spoke to Nine’s Today Show about the economic rebound in New South Wales last week after the state came out of lockdown. Below is a transcript of the interview.
HOST: It has been a massive first week out of lockdown for people in New South Wales with up to $825 million spent in Sydney alone. Victoria isn’t too far off from lockdown lifting, can we expect this trend to continue? Ross McEwan (NAB CEO) is with us. You have new data. What does it tell us about the economy?
Ross McEwan (RM): It certainly shows a big jump in what happened in Sydney last week. You talked about $800 and something million increase in spend. You saw things like the hairdressers and the beauty shops bounce by 560% over the weeks before. You saw people go out and get clothing. They are sick of sitting in the same gear they’ve been in for so long. That was up 350% last week. Of course cafes, bars, restaurants, up 50%. So Sydney certainly bounced back last week.
HOST: Some of those percentages you are mentioning, 500%, 300% that is extraordinary, but that’s coming out of lockdown. Do you expect a trend that high to continue?
RM: What was really interesting that even on the same week last year, which was out of lockdown, Sydney was up 8% last week. So you are seeing a really good bounce back in Sydney and I expect this to happen in Victoria as we come out of lockdown as well. You’re seeing people want to get back into the normality of life.
HOST: We just spoke to the Lord Mayor of Victoria as well. They are prepping for a very big Thursday night into Friday. Are we are going to see these figures we have seen in Sydney in Victoria, do you think?
RM: I think we will, David. People are already booked out restaurants, cafes, bars. Things are really going to start moving again, as we start seeing the restrictions released. I think you are going to see that certainly in Melbourne city as well.
HOST: So, Ross, how long do you think it will take both states to actually bounce back from this?
RM: Well, look, it really has taken a hammering over the last quarter. We have seen across the country growth in the economy slip back about 3%. I think in the next quarter and into 2022, you will see an economy that really does start moving again. We are seeing next year growth in this economy, as long as we keep it open, of 4% which is very, very good growth for an Australian economy. So I think you are starting to see it, but it is businesses like the one I am standing outside of now, Focaccino, that have to get going again. And to do that we need people back into our cities and back into our offices. These are the things that will help these small businesses really bounce back into life.
HOST: The small businesses are the big worry, aren’t they? Ross, it is great to have you on. It will be a big, big Thursday/Friday going into Victoria. Great to have your company this morning.