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Card spending growth accelerates in January

New Zealanders picked up the pace of spending last month, with the volume and value of transactions increasing at a faster rate than the traditionally busy Christmas period, according to Paymark figures.

The value of transactions rose 5.1 percent to $3.96 billion in January from the same month a year earlier, while the number of transactions climbed 6.3 percent to 79 million, Paymark says in a statement.

That is a faster rate of growth than the 2.3 percent increase in the value of spending in December and the 3.6 percent gain in transactions.

"Despite the positive national figures, we're aware that it's still tough out there for some retailers and in some regions," chief executive Simon Tong says. "A number of sectors such as accommodation providers and consumer electronics retailers have experienced below average growth."

The figures come ahead of official data tomorrow, which is forecast to show a 0.3 percent monthly increase in spending on electronic cards in January and a 4.3 percent lift from the same month a year earlier.

Retail sales figures for the three months ended December 31 will come out later this week and are expected to show a 1.1 percent increase in the quarterly volumes.

Paymark, which is equally owned by ASB, ANZ New Zealand, BNZ and Westpac, processes about 75% of the country's electronic transactions through 116,000 terminals across 74,000 merchants.

(BusinessDesk)