Friday 7th September 2018
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New Zealand's wholesale trade expanded for a 10th straight quarter, with strong sales for fruit exporters underpinning the gain.
Seasonally adjusted sales rose 2.6 percent in the three months ended June 30, accelerating from a 0.3 percent pace of expansion in March, Statistics New Zealand said. An 11 percent increase in fruit exports through the month helped drive 3 percent growth in wholesale sales of grocery, liquor and tobacco products, the biggest sub-group in the series.
"This industry’s increase was led by greater sales for fruit exporters," wholesale trade manager Sue Chapman said. "Both kiwifruit and apple exporters had a very good quarter."
Wholesale trade covers intermediary transactions between manufacturers and consumers, which feeds into the national accounts and is used by economists to predict wider economic activity.
Sales of basic materials, which includes other agricultural products, hardware goods, metal and mineral, petroleum and timber wholesaling, rose 3.1 percent, while machinery and equipment gained 3.5 percent and motor vehicles and parts sales climbed 3.9 percent. Other goods, such as clothing and footwear, pharmaceutical and toiletry goods, and paper products, increased 0.2 percent, while commission-based wholesale sales snapped four quarters of expansion, falling 3.4 percent.
Despite the increase in sales, inventories grew 4.1 percent in the quarter, with motor vehicles and parts stocks jumping 14 percent, grocery, food and liquor product stocks up 4.5 percent, and machinery and equipment wholesale inventories increasing 3.4 percent. Stocks of basic materials rose 1 percent, while other goods stocks shrank 3.5 percent.
Unadjusted wholesale trade sales climbed 7.1 percent to $26.66 billion in the June quarter from a year earlier, while stocks climbed 12 percent to $12.57 billion.
New Zealand's gauge of manufacturing activity, the BNZ-BusinessNZ performance of manufacturing index, registered slowing growth in production, finished stocks, and deliveries through the June quarter. Since then, the July reading deteriorated further at a headline level with production contracting that month.
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