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Australian consumers spent nearly AU$18.3 billion (US$17.7 billion or 11.2 billion euros) with charge and credit cards in May, a 5.2% increase from AU$17.4 billion spent in May 2007, the Reserve Bank of Australia says. By contrast, spending increased nearly 5.5% between May 2006 and May 2007. Average card balances increased 4.1%, to AU$3,115 from AU$2,991, the slowest such increase since the mid-1990s. Cardholders made 119 million transactions, including purchases and cash advances, in May, up 0.6% from 118.3 million transactions in May 2007. Cash advances declined 9.4%, to 2.9 million from 3.2 million.

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