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Card spend shows no sign of slowdown

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 8/11/2016 Jonathan Underhill

<span style="font-size:13px;">Tills around the nation continued to ring in October courtesy of the tourism boom, with restaurants, fast food outlets and accommodation benefiting the most.</span> © Getty Images Tills around the nation continued to ring in October courtesy of the tourism boom, with restaurants, fast food outlets and accommodation benefiting the most. New Zealand retail spending on electronic cards rose for a second month in October as shopkeepers continued to benefit from the nation's tourism boom, which drove up demand for restaurants, takeaway shops, and accommodation.

Retail spending rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6 per cent last month, after a 2 per cent gain in September, Statistics New Zealand said.

Actual retail spending climbed 4.2 per cent to $5.1 billion in October from the same month a year earlier, with fuel the only sector to register a decline, reflecting cheaper petrol prices.

Overseas short-term visitor arrivals reached a record 3.39 million in the year ended July 30, up 11 per cent from the year earlier, largely due to a 17 per cent lift in holidaymakers to 1.74 million. Record inflows of tourists and migrants, and strong employment growth have helped offset the economic impact of a weaker rural sector struggling with what had been low global dairy prices.

"Today's figures add to the increasingly positive picture for New Zealand households," said Satish Ranchhod, senior economist at Westpac.

"Spending is being supported by a range of factors including low interest rates, strong population growth, and strength in house prices. The firming in the labour market will also be providing a boost to households' spending appetites."

Hospitality spending rose a seasonally adjusted 1.1 per cent in October while spending on consumables - typically at supermarkets and grocery stores - rose 0.8 per cent. Five of the six industries measured recorded increases in the month. Seasonally adjusted card spending rose in five of the six retail industries.

Core retail spending, which excludes vehicle-related industries, rose 0.3 per cent last month following a 2.3 per cent gain in September.

Spending on fuel fell 3 per cent from October 2015, marking the eighth annual decline in a row. Seasonally adjusted spending on fuel rose 1.1 per cent in October from September.

Of the non-retail industries, non-retail excluding services rose 1.4 per cent while spending in the services industry climbed 0.6 per cent in the latest month after a 2.1 per cent gain in September.

In actual terms, card-holders made 137 million transactions in October with an average value of $49. The total amount spent was $6.8 billion.

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