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Fuel spending down

Consumers spent less on fuel but more on core shop sales (which excludes the vehicle-related industries), leaving overall retail spending flat in the September 2017, Stats NZ said today. This is compared with a 0.6 per cent rise in the June quarter, after adjusting for seasonal effects.

Electronic card spending on fuel in the September 2017 quarter fell $129 million, or 7.1 per cent.

“This drop in fuel spending coincided with lower fuel prices at the beginning of the quarter,” retail manager Sue Chapman said.

Spending rose in five of the six retail industries in the September quarter.

Core retail spending rose 0.9 per cent in the September 2017 quarter, after a 1.1 per cent rise in the June 2017 quarter.

Actual retail spending using electronic cards was $14.7 billion in the September 2017 quarter, up $437 million (3.1 percent) from the September 2016 quarter.

Spending fell in four of the six retail industries in September. The largest movements came from sales of goods including appliances and furniture (durables), down $15 million or 1.2 percent, offset by grocery and liquor sales (consumables), up $15 million or 0.8 percent.

“We can’t draw any firm conclusions about the impact of the general election on electronic card spending in September,” Chapman said.

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Card spending down in May

Retail electronic card spending dipped in May following April’s rise, Stats NZ has said.

Monthly retail card spending fell 0.4 per cent compared to April, when seasonally adjusted, to $5.16 billion.

The largest fall came from the consumables industry, including grocery and liquor retailing, which was down $12 million, or 0.7 per cent.

Compared to May 2016, however, retail spending was up $250 million, or 5.2 per cent.

“The fall in retail card spending in May was driven by an easing of consumables spending, after a record increase in April,” business indicators manager Craig Liken said.

“Fuel spending was also down, with lower prices throughout the month.”

Spending for fuel was down $11 million, or 1.8 per cent. Sales of vehicles, excluding fuel, remained static at $166 million for the third month in a row. Year-on-year, card sales have increased $8 million, or 5.06 per cent.

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Card spending up in March quarter

Retail card spending rose 1.7 per cent in the March 2017 quarter when adjusted for seasonal effects, following a 1.5 rise in December 2016. Spending rose across most retail industries, Stats NZ reported.

“The rise in retail card spending in the March quarter was driven by an increase in fuel spending,” business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly said.

Spending rose in five of the six retail industries in the quarter. Fuel topped the table, up $126 million, or seven per cent.

In actual terms, retail spending using electronic cards totalled $15.1 billion in the March 2017 quarter. This was up $669 million, or 4.6 per cent, compared to the March 2016 quarter.

The quarterly rise in card spending is due mainly to a booming January, with monthly retail card spending down 0.3 per cent in March compared to February 2017, the second monthly fall in a row.

“The fall in retail card spending in the March month was driven by a decrease in fuel spending, which coincides with a price drop of fuel,” Kelly said.

Fuel spending fell $12 million, or 1.9 per cent, following a $14 million jump in February. Spending on vehicles excluding fuel rose 1.5 per cent in March to $166 million after falling 0.5 per cent in February.

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Subdued retail spending in February

Retail spending using electronic cards hit $4.8 billon in February 2017, up $121 million, or 2.6 percent, from February 2016, Statistics New Zealand said today.

However, when adjusted for seasonal effects, retail spending fell 0.6 per cent in February 2017 compared to January. February 2016 had an extra day of trading, being a leap year.

The decline follows an exceptionally strong January, where spending grew 2.7 per cent, the largest monthly increase since January 2006.

“The fall in total card spending in February was driven by a lull in furniture, electronics, and department store purchases,” business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly said in a statement.

Spending for vehicles using electronic cards was down 0.6 per cent to $163 million when seasonally adjusted, compared to the previous month. Fuel spending, however, rose 2.8 per cent to $657 million.

The largest fall came from the durables industry, which includes furniture, hardware, electronics, recreational goods, department stores, and pharmaceutical and other transactions. The market fell 2.1 per cent to $1.2 billion.

Trends for the total and retail values have been steadily rising since Statistics New Zealand began tracking data in October 2002.

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Vehicle sales lift retail market

Statistics New Zealand released its latest retail trade quarterly report today, with motor-vehicle sales the strongest performing industry of the market.

The total volume of motor-vehicle sales and parts rose 1.9 per cent in the December 2016 quarter, according to the report. “More expensive cars and SUV vehicles are selling well, especially in Auckland, according to comments from car dealers and industry experts,” business indicators manager Tehseen Islam said. The volume of fuel sales also rose 0.9 per cent.

Total retail sales volumes rose 0.8 percent in the latest quarter after adjusting for seasonal effects, following a 0.8 per cent rise in September. 11 of 15 industries had increased sales volumes.

Increases were also felt in accommodation, which rose 3.5 per cent, pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing, up 2.5 percent, and electrical and electronic goods, which grew two percent.

Of the 15 retail industries studied, 13 had higher sales values than in the September quarter.

Motor-vehicle and parts industry had the highest sales value rise, up 2.7 per cent, or $79 million, to $2.9 billion. The sales value of fuel rose 1.3 per cent to $1.86 billion.

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Retail spending up in January

Retail spending using electronic cards increased 5.6 per cent in January 2017 to $5.1 billion, Statistics New Zealand announced today. Spending increased across all six retail industries.

When adjusted for seasonal effects, retail card spending for vehicles, and fuel were among the best-performing industries. Spending for cars, excluding fuel, rose 2.6 per cent in January 2017 to $164 million, compared to $154 million in January 2016. Spending for fuel rose 2.7 per cent to $642 million, up from $579 million in the previous January.

The other four retail industries all increased. Durables rose 3.1 per cent to $1.2 billion, consumables grew 1.3 per cent to $1.8 billion, hospitality increased 1.7 per cent to $1 billion, and apparel went up 2.5 per cent to $294 million.

Adjusted retail card spending across all industries rose 2.7 per cent in January from December 2016. “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,” business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly said in a press statement.


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Transport prices up in the CPI

Statistics New Zealand has released the CPI figures for the December 2016 quarter. Overall, the annual CPI inflation rate was 1.3 per cent, according to the report, and the CPI rose 0.7 per cent for the quarter, with seasonal adjustment.

Transport prices decreased one per cent overall from December 2015, but rose 3.7 per cent for the quarter. The cost of private vehicles increased 1.9 per cent for the quarter, but as growth was static for the first three quarters, the price increased 1.8 per cent between December 2015 and 2016.

Private transport and supplies and services increased 2.3 per cent in price for the December 2016 quarter. As a result of the fluctuating prices in 2016, the overall cost fell two per cent between December 2015 and 2016.

Passenger transport services had the highest transport price gain in the December quarter, rising 9.8 per cent. This follows decreasing costs in the March, June and September quarters, and passenger transport prices ended 1.9 per cent down on December 2015.

The average price of one litre of 91 octane petrol has also increased, up 4.1 per cent to $1.82. 95/98 octane petrol also increased 4.2 per cent.

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