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Vehicle Imports down on last year

There was a significant drop in used imported passenger vehicles in January when compared to December 2017.

Motor vehicle dealers imported 10,423 used cars last month, down 20.4 per cent from 13,097 imports in December, and it was a fall of 1.51 per cent against January 2017’s total of 10,583.

There was a 6.5 per cent fall in new car imports when compared to the same month of last year – with 7,933 new cars crossing the boarder last month, down 556 units on January 2017’s total of 8,489.

Light commercial imports also fell, with used down 10.5 per cent compared to 551 units in January 2017. There was an 18 per cent fall in new light commercials – from 2,968 units in January 2017 to 2,431 last month.

Used car imports from Japan totaled 9,660, down only slightly (37 units) 0.4 per cent on the same month last year

Imported used cars from the UK were down 55.7 per cent compared to January last year when 273 units came in, last month that total was 121 units.

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Low vehicle prices offset petrol hikes

Prices rose 0.1 per cent in the December 2017 quarter, Stats NZ said today. Higher petrol prices, air fares, and housing-related costs were countered by lower prices for new cars, and a range of household goods.

New car prices were down 6.2 per cent for the December quarter. 

The relatively flat result this quarter leaves the consumers price index (CPI) inflation rate at 1.6 percent for the December 2017 year. Inflation was 1.9 percent for the September 2017 year.

The CPI measures the rate of price change of goods and services purchased by New Zealand households and is a key measure for the Reserve Bank in setting interest rates and is commonly used in adjusting pay rates and other contracts.

Quarterly change

In the December 2017 quarter compared with the September 2017 quarter, the CPI rose 0.1 percent (up 0.4 percent with seasonal adjustment).

Purchase of vehicles fell 2.1 per cent for the quarter due to new car prices, down 6.2 per cent. However, second-hand vehicles were up 0.8 per cent.

Food prices fell 1.7 percent in the December 2017 quarter, influenced by seasonally lower vegetable prices, down 19 per cent.

“Retail prices fell by more than usual in the December 2017 quarter, contributing to lower inflation than widely expected,” prices senior manager Jason Attewell said.

“Changing retail pricing strategies have led to lower prices for a range of household items, while specials drove new car prices down 6.2 per cent.”

Lower prices for vehicles were countered by higher prices for passenger transport services, which rose 9.2 per cent. Private transport supplies and services prices rose 4.1 percent, with petrol prices up 6.1 percent.

“Petrol prices were up in the December quarter, following two quarters of falls,” Attewell said. “Rising oil prices and a falling exchange rate pushed prices up sharply between July and November this year. The average price for 91 octane petrol hit $1.94 in the December 2017 quarter, up from $1.83 in the September 2017 quarter.”

Annual change

From the December 2016 quarter to the December 2017 quarter. The CPI inflation rate was up 1.6 per cent.

Purchase of vehicles decreased 2.0 per cent, influenced by lower prices of new vehicles, down 6.7 per cent. 

However, this was covered by higher prices for petrol and cigarettes. Private transport supplies and services prices increased by 4.6 per cent as petrol prices rose by 6.5 per cent. Cigarettes and tobacco prices also increased 9.9 per cent.

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Retail spending quiet

Retail spending was quiet in the September quarter

New figures reveal a decrease in retail spending in the September 2017 quarter.

Retailers saw quieter spending in the September 2017 quarter from the buoyant June period, which was boosted by increases from the hospitality industries, Statistics NZ said.

“There were strong increases from the food and beverage services and accommodation industries in June, on the back of the World Masters Games and the Lions tour,” retail trade manager Sue Chapman said.

“However, the reverse has occurred this quarter, with both of these industries falling.”

According to Statistics NZ, after being adjusted for price and seasonal effects, total retail sales volumes rose 0.1 percent ($30 million) in the September 2017 quarter. The last time retail sales growth was around this level was in the June 2015 quarter, when values rose 0.2 percent ($36 million).

In comparison to the last recorded quarter in June, 8 of the 15 industries had higher sales values with supermarket and grocery sales recording the largest movement, up 1.6 percent ($78 million). The largest decrease was in fuel retailing, down 3.2 percent ($64 million).

Spending on motor vehicles and parts, excluding fuel, remained the same since the June quarter, but was up 9.5 per cent from the same September quarter in 2016.  

In actual terms, the value of total retail sales was $21.9 billion in the September 2017 quarter, up 5.4 percent ($1.1 billion) from the September 2016 quarter.


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