NZ wholesale trade up 2.1% in first quarter
New Zealand wholesale trade advanced in the first quarter of 2017, with gains in basic materials such as agricultural products, petrol and timber.
Seasonally adjusted sales gained 2.1 percent in the three months ended March 31, from a 1.1 percent gain in the fourth quarter of 2016, Statistics New Zealand figures show.
Wholesale trade covers intermediary transactions between manufacturers and consumers, which feeds into the national accounts and is used by economists to predict wider economic activity. Statistics NZ changed its methodology in collecting data for the September quarter to use more administrative data and reduce its reliance on surveys, while also ending its split of raw materials and finished goods in measuring total stocks.
In the latest period, five of six wholesale industries recorded gains, while one industry - machinery and equipment - recorded no change. Basic materials gained 3.7 percent, motor vehicles rose 3.8 percent, and other goods, which includes textiles, pharmaceuticals and furniture, rose 2.3 percent.
Actual wholesale trade sales of $23.4 billion in the March quarter were up 5.3 percent from the same period in 2016. The total value of wholesale stocks held at March 31 was $10.9 billion, up 2.2 percent from a year earlier.