bizEDGE New Zealand logo
Story image

NZ retail spending on debit, credit cards rises 0.9% in January

New Zealanders increased their spending on debit and credit cards in January, led by consumables and durables, while spending on fuel fell for a third straight month, reflecting the drop in global oil prices.

The value of core retail sales on electronic cards, which strips out spending on fuel and vehicle related items, rose 0.9 percent seasonally adjusted in January, to $3.88 billion, following December's 0.2 percent gain, Statistics New Zealand said. Including fuel and vehicle spending, total retail spending dropped 0.4 percent to $4.69 billion, led by a 6.7 percent drop in fuel to a more-than two-year low of $663 million, following the global slump in oil prices.

Total spending, which includes non-retail industries and services, rose 0.1 percent in the month to $6.22 billion.

The price of oil tumbled from its high in the middle of last year, as oversupply led to an oil glut while Middle East producers engaged in a price war to keep their market share. While the price has begun to recover, the drop to six-year lows has been blamed as a contributing factor to ongoing low interest rates, as the cheaper petrol prices keep a lid on global inflation.

Today's figures show consumables, which is the largest measure in the series, rose for the fourth consecutive month, up 1.3 percent in January to $1.69 billion, while durables snapped two months of declines to rise 0.9 percent to $1.13 billion. Hospitality rose 0.3 percent to $778 million and apparel fell 1.9 percent to $286 million.

On an unadjusted basis, core retail spending climbed 7.6 percent from the same month the previous year to $3.95 billion, with hospitality surged 10.7 percent to $837 million, consumables advanced 8.3 percent to $1.72 billion and durables climbed 5.6 percent to $1.11 billion. Apparel rose 1.5 percent to $277 million.

Total retail sales rose 4 percent to $4.75 billion, while fuel dropped 13.4 percent from January 2014 to $663 million. Total spending increased 3.7 percent from a year earlier to $6.22 billion.

The number of core retail transactions rose 10.7 percent from January a year earlier to 92 million, and was up 9.9 percent across all industries to 125 million. The average value per transaction fell to $50 from $54 in December.

Spending on debit cards made up 54.9 percent of total transactions edging up from 54.3 in December.