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Petrol prices on the rise

Petrol prices increased 5.0 per cent in the year ended March 2018, Stats NZ said today. In the March 2018 quarter prices rose 2.7 percent.

Rising crude oil prices, and a falling exchange rate, contributed to pushing petrol prices up in the second half of 2017.

“The average price for a litre of 91 octane reached $2.00 in March 2018,” prices senior manager Paul Pascoe said. “This is the highest level since the December 2014 quarter.”

Average petrol prices in the CPI take into account loyalty card and supermarket discounts, and therefore differ from those seen at the petrol station.

For several quarters, petrol prices have moved in different ways in different parts of the country, rather than rising or falling consistently at a national level.

Since 2013, Wellington and the South Island have typically had larger increases and smaller decreases than the rest of the country.

The regional pattern changed in the year ended March 2018. Auckland prices either fell less or increased more than Wellington and Canterbury in three of the past four quarters.

In the March 2018 quarter, Auckland petrol prices rose 3.9 per cent, while Wellington and Canterbury rose 0.8 per cent and 0.1 per cent, respectively.

In the year ended March 2018, Auckland petrol prices increased 6.5 per cent, Wellington increased 1.7 per cent, and Canterbury 1.3 per cent.

From March 2013 to March 2018, Auckland prices decreased 5.0 per cent, Wellington prices decreased 3.8 per cent, and Canterbury prices decreased 3.1 per cent.

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Electronic card spending up 1.8%

Total card spending across all industries was up 1.8 per cent in the March 2018 quarter when adjusted for seasonal effects, Stats NZ said.

Spending rose across all six of the retail industries in the March quarter. The largest rises came from the consumables (grocery and liquor retailing) industry, up $125 million (2.2 percent) and the hospitality industry, up $87 million (2.9 percent).

“The rise in retail card spending in the March quarter was driven by an increase in grocery and liquor spending,” retail manager Sue Chapman said. “

This was the largest increase in grocery and liquor retailing since December 2010 and coincided with a record increase in spending in the March month.

The motor vehicle industry dropped by 1.8 per cent or $3.2 million last month compared with February 2018. However, the vehicle industry in the March 2018 quarter was up by $7.5 million or 1.5 per cent compared with the December 2017 quarter.

 

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Tesla tops electric chart

The Tesla Model S

Tesla continues to lead sales of pure electric vehicles (EVs), according to statistics for the first quarter of 2018. The Model S notched up 44 registrations and the Model X came third with 37 with Hyundai’s Ioniq sandwiched between them on 39.

By comparison, in the first three months of 2017 Model S sales came in at 32 and 10 Model Xs were registered.

During the whole of last year, the Models S and Model X racked up 128 and 116 sales respectively, according to Motor Industry Association statistics. These figures made Tesla New Zealand’s top-selling brand in the pure EV class in which 546 units were registered overall.

Sales of cars other than those powered by petrol or diesel are still led by plug-in hybrids. They accounted for the bulk of 797 registrations in the “other” category for the first quarter of 2017.

Toyota dominates this segment with three of its hybrids – the Corolla with 195 sales, the Camry on 103 and the Prius C with 88 – commanding a market share of 57 per cent.

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Used commercials down

There were 975 used imported commercial vehicles sold last month, a 21.9 per cent decrease compared to March 2017, when 1,249 vehicles were registered.

Year to date the total has dropped by 7.2 per cent or 228 registrations, compared to the first three months of 2017.

Most regions recorded losses during March compared with the same month last year, Auckland led the way with a 26.0 per cent fall (162 units). Followed by Christchurch and Wellington who showed decreases of 29.5 per cent and 23.4 per cent when compared to the same month last year.

Dunedin was one of the exceptions, with sales increasing from 32 in March last year to 43 last month, an increase of 34.4 per cent.

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Used imported cars at two year low

Registrations of used imported passenger vehicles were down compared to March last year, with sales decreasing by 18.2 per cent, or 2,633 units, bringing this month’s total to 11,841. The lowest month recorded since February 2016.

Year-to-date, the used imported passenger market has dropped by 5.2 per cent – or 2,059 units – compared to the first three months of 2017.

Most regions around New Zealand saw losses in used imported passenger vehicle registrations in March. Out of the main centres, Wellington went from 1,103 sales in March last year to 834 last month, a decrease of 24.4 per cent. Auckland and Hamilton also didn’t compare well to a year earlier, showing decreases of 18.4 per cent and 22.0 per cent, respectively. 

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Imports drop across the board

A total of 10,924 used passenger vehicles and 9,999 new passenger vehicles were recorded to have crossed the border last month. Compared with March 2017, both of these markets have fallen, used passenger vehicles by 44.1 per cent and new passenger vehicles by 6.5 per cent.

In terms of the light commercial market, 467 used and 2,953 new commercial vehicles arrived in New Zealand last month – these imports were also down compared to the same month last year, by 10.5 per cent and 18.1 per cent, respectively.

Regarding year to date statistics, three of the four markets recorded a decrease. Used passenger vehicles registered a 29.77 per cent (13,086 units) fall compared to the same period in 2017. Used light commercials registered a 27.15 per cent (515 units) decrease, and new light commercials registered a 6.45 per cent drop (553 units).

Importers brought in 10,154 used cars from Japan – a huge 44.9 per cent decrease compared to March 2017. There was also a fall in used car imports from both Australia and the UK compared with the same month last year – a decrease of 37.9 per cent 60.6 per cent, respectively.

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Market for new vehicles remains strong

David Crawford, Chief Executive Officer of the Motor Industry Association says “March new vehicle registrations of 14,028 vehicles were up 1 per cent (159 units) on March 2017 reflecting a stable market. Year to date the market is up 2 per cent (916 units) compared to the first three months of 2017.”

Registrations of 9,050 passenger and SUV vehicles for the month of March were down 2 per cent (180 units) on March 2017. However, registrations of 4,978 commercial vehicles continues to grow strongly being up 7 per cent (339 units) on March 2017.”

Toyota remains the overall market leader with 17% market share (2,421 units), followed by Ford with 11% (1,551 units) and Mitsubishi with 8% market share (1,104 units).

Toyota was also the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with 13 per cent market share (1,196 units) followed by Mazda with 9 per cent (858 units) and Mitsubishi with 8 per cent market share (722 units).

In the commercial sector, Toyota remained the market leader with 25 per cent market share (1,225 units) followed by Ford with 21 per cent (1,047 units) and Holden with 9 per cent market share (427 units).

The top four selling models for the month of March were all light commercial vehicles. The Toyota Hilux was back at the top of the bestselling vehicle model table with 915 units. This was closely followed by the Ford Ranger with 912 units and the Holden Colorado with 427 units.

The SUV medium segment regained the top segment for the month of March with 18 per cent market share. This was followed by the Pick Up/Chassis Cab 4×4 segment also with 16 per cent of the market, and the SUV compact with 13 per cent market share.

“The market for new vehicles is mature and remains strong, said Mr Crawford

“The economic factors of the past two years are still largely present with strong net immigration, affordable prices and strong economy.” 

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Imports rise despite fall in cars

Imports rose in February 2018 to a new high for a February month, Stats NZ said today. This rise was driven by machinery imports, despite a fall in the value of car imports.

Value of car imports fall

Imports of passenger motor cars fell $126 million (33 per cent) from February 2017 to $257 million – the lowest monthly value since March 2013.

Vehicles parts and accessories also fell $109 million (18 percent) to $501 million, led by the fall in motor vehicles.

“The delay in final unloading of four vehicle carriers at New Zealand ports had an impact on the total value of vehicle imports in February,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said.

“The discovery of stink bugs on these vessels meant that around 8,000 cars could not enter New Zealand as scheduled.

“The goods on these vehicle carriers would normally have been included in February’s import statistics, but will now be included in the statistics of the month when the respective shipments are unloaded.”

Mechanical machinery and equipment leads import rise

Despite the fall in vehicle imports, total imports were up $187 million (4.6 per cent) from February 2017 to reach $4.2 billion, a new high for a February month, although the rise in percentage terms was lower than in recent months.

The rise in total imports was led by mechanical and electrical machinery and equipment (such as harvesting machinery and mobile phones), and palm kernel.

Mechanical machinery and equipment rose $57 million (10 per cent) across a range of commodities, including harvesting machinery (up $14 million).

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GDP rises due to strength in services

The economy, as measured by GDP, grew 0.6 per cent in the December 2017 quarter, Stats NZ said today. Growth was driven by increases in the service industries but was tempered by falls in the primary sector.  

“Growth was widespread across many service industries, with business services, and rental hiring and real estate services providing momentum,” national accounts senior manager Gary Dunnet said. “Retail trade and wholesale trade were also key contributors to growth this quarter.”

Service industries drive growth

Activity in the service industries rose 1.1 per cent, with 10 of the 11 service industries in the December 2017 quarter. Overall growth in the service industries was led by a 2.3 per cent increase in business services. 

Other service industries making a significant contribution included wholesale, retail, real estate, and transport.

Primary industries weaken, down 2.4 per cent

Following a wet spring, New Zealand’s hottest summer on record appears to have negatively affected the primary sector. Agricultural production fell 2.7 per cent this quarter and dairy exports fell 4.4 per cent.

Capital goods lift investment

Investment in fixed assets was up 2.1 percent in the December 2017 quarter, following a revised 1.8 percent increase in the September 2017 quarter.

Higher investment in transport equipment (up 17 per cent) and plant, machinery, and equipment (up 5.9 per cent) were the two main drivers of investment growth this quarter. This saw higher imports of capital goods.

Imports of passenger motor cars also contributed to the increase in imported goods. In the December quarter, imports of passenger motor cars increased by 1.8 per cent, following a 2.9 per cent decrease in the September 2017 quarter.

GDP per capita rises 0.1 per cent

When comparing GDP growth to population change, GDP per capita was up 0.1 percent in the December 2017 quarter. This follows a 0.2 percent increase in the September 2017 quarter.

Real purchasing power up 1.4 per cent

New Zealand’s ability to buy goods and services from its income rose over the December 2017 quarter by 1.4 per cent. 

Over the December 2017 year, real purchasing power per capita increased 1.3 percent. This shows that New Zealand’s real purchasing power increased more than New Zealand’s population over this period.

 

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Total electronic card spending flat

Total card spending across all industries was relatively flat (up 0.1 per cent) in February 2018, when adjusted for seasonal effects, Stats NZ said on Friday.

Retail card spending dipped 0.3 percent in February, after five consecutive monthly increases. 

“February’s decline was led by a 0.5 percent fall in spending on consumables, which includes grocery and liquor retailing,” retail manager Sue Chapman said. 

“This is the first decrease in the consumables group since May 2017 and could be the effect of people hunkering down during the two ex-tropical cyclones that hit this month.” 

The motor vehicle industry was the only industry with relatively good growth, with a 2.3 per cent or $3.9 million increase compared with January 2018.

Spending was quiet across the rest of the give retail industries. There was little or no change in durables (includes hardware, furniture, and appliances), hospitality (accommodation, bars, cafes, restaurants, and takeaways), apparel (clothing and footwear), and fuel. 

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Wholesale vehicle sales up nearly 6%

All wholesale trade industries recorded higher sales in the December 2017 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

The seasonally adjusted total sales value for wholesale trade rose 3.0 per cent in the December 2017 quarter, after rising 1.4 per cent in the September quarter.

The December rise was the seventh-consecutive quarterly rise and the largest since the September 2010 quarter, when the value rose 3.8 per cent.

By industry, basic materials wholesaling had the largest increase in sales value, up 6.3 per cent ($354 million) from the September quarter when adjusted for seasonal effects.

“Other agricultural products wholesaling was the main contributor to the increase in basic materials industry,” wholesale trade manager Sue Chapman said.

Other agricultural products wholesaling includes businesses supplying products such as livestock, feed, seed, and fertiliser. Petroleum products and hardware goods also made sizeable contributions to the increase in basic materials.

Machinery and equipment had the second-largest rise of all industries, up 3.3 per cent ($167million). Machinery and equipment includes agricultural and construction machinery, computer and computer peripherals, telecommunication goods, and professional and scientific goods.

Motor vehicles

The third-largest rise in sales value by industry was in motor vehicles and parts, including cars and trucks, up 5.9 per cent ($153 million) in the December quarter. This rise follows a 3.0 percent fall in the September quarter.

“The sales rise in motor vehicles and parts wholesaling coincides with a recent increase in retail sales of vehicles and parts,” Ms Chapman said. “Retail trade survey for the December 2017 quarter showed that motor vehicles and parts sales rose in both value and volume.”

Source: Stats NZ

Wholesale vehicle stocks up 7.2 per cent

The total value of wholesale trade stocks held at 31 December 2017 was $11.6 billion, up 7.2 per cent ($781 million) when compared with 31 December 2016.

Stocks rose from the December 2016 quarter in all the six wholesale industries, with motor vehicles and motor-vehicle parts leading the rise.

Motor vehicles and motor-vehicle parts were up 16 per cent ($285 million) in the December quarter, when compared with the same period in 2016.

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