Electronic cards spending falls for a second month in March


New Zealand retail spending on electronic cards fell for a second month in March, as weakness emerges in household related spending.

Retail spending on credit and debit cards fell a seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent last month, following a 0.6 percent decline in February, Statistics New Zealand said. The declines come after a 2.7 percent increase in January, the biggest monthly increase since January 2006.

Spending fell in three of the six retail industries in March, with fuel retailing recording the largest drop due to price declines, down 1.9 percent. Consumables spending fell 0.2 percent, while durables spending fell for the fifth month in six, down 0.3 percent.

"This (durable) category includes items like home furnishings, and the recent softness may be a symptom of the slowdown in the housing market since late 2016 following last year’s tightening in lending standards and a rise in mortgage rates," said Westpac Banking Corp senior economist Satish Ranchhod.

"The recent softness in spending does follow a solid gain in January, and on an annual basis spending growth still looks healthy," Ranchhod said. "However, given the strength of population growth and the strong tourist season, there should naturally be some momentum in spending. Consequently, the recent softening in spending does raise some flags, especially in the context of a slowdown in the housing market and upwards pressure on interest rates. This will be an important area to watch over the coming months."

Today's figures show core retail spending, which excludes vehicle-related industries, dropped for the fourth month in five, down 0.1 percent in March from February.  

Hospitality spending edged up 0.1 percent and apparel spending advanced 0.8 percent, with Westpac's Ranchhod saying poor weather may be having a dampening effect. Vehicle spending rose 1.5 percent, as vehicle sales continue to break new records.

Of the non-retail industries, non-retail excluding services advanced 0.6 percent from February while spending in the services industry rose 1.1 percent.

Actual retail spending climbed 5.6 percent to $5.2 billion in March from the same month a year earlier.

Card-holders made 143 million transactions in March, up from 128 million in February and 133 million in March last year, with an average value of $49.


Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.

This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags

Comments & Questions

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

Post New comment or question

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

NZ Market Snapshot


Sym Price Change
USD 0.6864 0.0000 0.00%
AUD 0.9170 0.0000 0.00%
EUR 0.6303 0.0000 0.00%
GBP 0.5304 0.0000 0.00%
HKD 5.3412 0.0000 0.00%
JPY 76.5390 0.0000 0.00%


Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1268.3 4.660 2017-04-28T00:
Oil Brent 52.0 0.540 2017-04-28T00:
Oil Nymex 49.3 0.310 2017-04-28T00:
Silver Index 17.2 -0.008 2017-04-28T00:


Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 7354.6 7386.9 7354.6 0.33%
NASDAQ 6072.9 6074.0 6048.9 -0.02%
DAX 12417.9 12462.1 12443.8 -0.05%
DJI 20987.4 20987.8 20981.3 -0.19%
FTSE 7237.2 7243.3 7237.2 -0.46%
HKSE 24691.3 24697.0 24698.5 -0.34%
NI225 19240.7 19264.6 19251.9 -0.29%
ASX 5921.5 5924.1 5921.5 0.04%