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NZ wholesale trade rises 0.7% in Sept quarter, led by auto industry

New Zealand wholesale trade sales rose in the third quarter, led by gains in the auto industry.

Seasonally adjusted sales rose 0.7 percent to $22.08 billion in the three months ended Sept. 30, adding to a 1.8 percent increase in the second quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. On an unadjusted basis, wholesale trade was up 4.3 percent from the same quarter a year earlier, and stocks held at the end of the period were up 1.2 percent at $9.44 billion from the same time in 2013.

However, results were "mixed in the wholesaling industries this quarter, with three of the six industries having higher sales," business indicators manager Neil Kelly said in a statement. "This contrasts with the June 2014 quarter, when all six industries had rises."

Wholesale trade acts as an intermediary between the manufacturer and the consumer, and the survey is typically watched by economists as it feeds into the national accounts and gross domestic product calculations.

Today's figures show motor vehicles and auto parts led quarterly growth, up 2 percent to $1.99 billion in the three month period, its seventh quarter of expansion, while stocks grew 6.1 percent to $1.61 billion in the quarter.

New Zealand's auto industry has been enjoying a boom year as a strong currency and recovering economy stoke demand for new vehicles, and car sales are heading for a record in 2014.

Grocery, liquor and tobacco products trade rose 1.1 percent to $6.91 billion in the quarter, its fifth quarter of gains, though stocks shrank 0.6 percent in the period to $1.37 billion as at Sept. 30.

Basic materials trade, which includes primary goods such as agriculture products, minerals and timber, increased 0.3 percent to $5.07 billion, while stocks shrank 1.6 percent to $1.84 billion.

Machinery and equipment trade declined 0.2 percent to $4.46 billion, while stocks grew 0.7 percent to $2.83 billion, while 'other goods' trade, which includes textiles, pharmaceuticals and toiletries, and furniture and floor coverings, fell 0.7 percent to $3.21 billion, building up stocks by 2.6 percent to $1.79 billion.

Commission-based wholesale trade slipped 0.1 percent to $410 million.