Consumer retail spending using electronic cards was $5.1 billion in January 2017, which is up $270 million (5.6 percent) from January 2016, Statistics New Zealand said yesterday.
Retail spending rose a seasonally adjusted 2.7% in January after two months of zero movement, which is the biggest monthly gain since December 2006, with increases across all six industries, Statistics NZ said. .
The heart of retail spending was up 2.5 percent in January of this year after a fall of 0.7 percent in December 2016.
According to Business Indicators senior manager Neil Kelly, “"The lift in retail card spending in January was across the board, from food and liquor to clothing, petrol, and cars, as well as a bounce back for furniture, hardware, and appliances."
Trends for the total, retail, and core retail series have generally been on the increase since these series began towards the end of 2002, but the core retail trend has been easing off in the more recent months.
Westpac Senior Economist Satish Ranchhold states that some of January’s strong increase likely reflects catch up after more subdued growth in November and December.
“After such a strong gain in January, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some moderation in spending growth in February.”
“Smoothing through month-to-month volatility, spending continues to be supported by strong population growth, rising employment, and a strong tourist season.”
He goes on to say that the one big cloud on the horizon is the recent increase in interest rates.
“This has seen some of the momentum coming out of the housing market (which for better or worse, tends to be a big driver of spending in the New Zealand economy). But with interest rates still relatively low, and a range of other supportive factors in play, we expect that spending will remain firm for some time yet.”