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NZ credit, debit card spending climbs 0.6 percent in November, led by sales of consumables

Tuesday 10th December 2013

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New Zealanders' retail spending on credit and debit cards rose in November, as spending on consumables, the largest single component, increased at the fastest pace since April last year.

Seasonally adjusted retail spending on electronic cards rose 0.6 percent in November to $4.53 billion, Statistics New Zealand said. That's higher than the 0.4 percent monthly gain expected in a Reuters survey although a slower pace than October's 1.8 percent rise. Spending on consumables increased 1.4 percent to $1.58 billion.

Retail spending on credit cards has increased for nine of the 11 months this year. Core retail spending, which strips out spending on vehicles and fuel, rose 0.3 percent to $3.65 billion, slowing from the 2.6 percent increase in October.

"Spending appears to have picked up the pace again in the December quarter - consistent with an improving labour market, higher farm incomes, and rising house prices," said Felix Delbruck, senior economist at Westpac Banking Corp. "It remains to be seen how the last of these is affected by the Reserve Bank's recent home loan restrictions. However, we don't expect any flow-on effects on spending to be evident for some months yet."

In the latest month, spending on hospitality increased 0.7 percent to $687 million while spending on vehicles, excluding fuel, rose 0.8 percent to $128 million.

Still, spending on durables slipped 0.6 percent to $1.1 billion, apparel sales dropped 0.7 percent to $288 million, fuel spending weakened 0.9 percent to $747 million and sales on services dipped 0.5 percent to $204 million.

Actual retail sales on electronic cards were up 5.9 percent to $3.8 billion, the agency said.

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