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Credit, debit card spending falls in November

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/12/2016 Tina Morrison

Spending on credit cards has decreased. © Getty Images Spending on credit cards has decreased.

New Zealand retail spending on electronic cards fell in November, snapping two consecutive months of gains, amid disruption from the Kaikoura earthquake.

Retail spending dropped a seasonally adjusted 0.3 per cent last month, after a 0.6 per cent gain in October and a 2.1 per cent rise in September, Statistics New Zealand said.

Actual retail spending climbed 5.1 per cent to $5.2 billion in November from the same month a year earlier, the agency said.

Core retail spending, which excludes vehicle-related industries, dropped 0.4 per cent in November from October, with apparel spending down 3.2 per cent, its biggest monthly drop since a 3.5 per cent decline in July 2013.

Spending on durables fell 0.7 per cent, and hospitality dropped 0.3 per cent, while consumable spending bucked the trend, up 0.8 per cent.

The statistics agency said it wasn't yet sure how sales may have been affected by the Nov. 14 Kaikoura earthquake, which caused ongoing disruption in central Wellington.

"Spending growth took a small step back in November, but given the month contained the North Canterbury earthquake, this is no great surprise," ASB economist Daniel Snowden said in a note.

"As well as spending being directly impacted in the quake-affected areas, there is also potential for distribution disruption, impacting spending in non-quake impacted areas."

ASB's Snowden said he expected future spending growth to remain firm, supported by high net migration, recovering dairy prices and record low interest rates.

Of the non-retail industries, non-retail excluding services fell 1.4 per cent from October while spending in the services industry declined 2.3 per cent.

Spending on fuel rose 2.5 per cent, while vehicle spending slipped 2.8 per cent.

In actual terms, card-holders made 138 million transactions in November with an average value of $50. The total amount spent was $6.9 billion.

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