SYDNEY, June 20 (Reuters) - A measure of spending in the Australian economy enjoyed its biggest monthly gain in over five years in May, a hopeful sign that consumer demand was holding up despite subdued sentiment.
The indicator of business sales (BSI) from Commonwealth Bank of Australia climbed 5.2 percent seasonally adjusted in May, a big turnaround from a 0.1 percent dip in April. That left the indicator up 10.3 percent on May last year, picking up sharply from a 5.9 percent pace in April.
The data suggest the official retail sales report for May might show improvement after a subdued reading in April.
The Commonwealth BSI is obtained by tracking the value of credit and debit card transactions processed through the bank's merchant facilities.
It covers spending broadly across the economy rather than just retail sales, including spending on automobiles, personal services and airlines. (Reporting by Wayne Cole)