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New Zealand Overall Credit Card Spending Eases 0.2% In March

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The total value of credit card spending in New Zealand dipped 0.2 percent on month in March, Statistics New Zealand said on Friday - shy of expectations for a flat reading following the 0.1 percent gain in February.

Retail credit card spending sank 0.3 percent, well shy of expectations for a gain of 0.5 percent following the 0.9 percent gain in the previous month.

Spending in the core retail industries fell 0.2 percent on month.

By industry, the movements were: consumables, up NZ$11 million (0.5 percent); fuel, up NZ$4.2 million (0.7 percent); hospitality, relatively unchanged; motor vehicles (excluding fuel), down NZ$2.5 million (1.4 percent); apparel, down NZ$9.0 million (2.9 percent); and durables, down NZ$26 million (1.9 percent).

Cardholders made 156 million transactions across all industries in March 2019 - an average value of NZ$48 per transaction. The total amount spent using electronic cards was NZ$7.5 billion.

For the first quarter of 2019, overall credit card spending was up 1.0 percent on quarter following the flat reading in the three months prior. Retail electronic spending also was up 1.0 percent on quarter.

Spending in the core retail industries rose 1.6 percent on quarter.

By industry, the quarterly movements were: durables, up NZ$61 million (1.6 percent); consumables, up NZ$60 million (1.0 percent); hospitality, up NZ$41 million (1.3 percent); apparel, up NZ$10 million (1.1 percent); motor vehicles (excluding fuel), up NZ$9.9 million (1.9 percent); and fuel, down NZ$116 million (6.2 percent).

The total amount spent using electronic cards was NZ$22 billion, up NZ$592 million (2.8 percent) from the March 2018 quarter.

Also on Friday, the latest survey from BusinessNZ said that the manufacturing sector in New Zealand continued to expand in March, albeit at a slower rate, with a manufacturing PMI score of 51.9.

That's down from 53.7 in February, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

Looking at the main sub-index values, production (51.4) and new orders (52.5) both dropped from February. However, employment (51.9) picked up slightly - the only sub-index to improve from February.

The slow level of expansion for March meant the first quarter of 2019 averaged out at 52.7, which was below the long run average of 53.4 for the survey.

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