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New Zealand Overall Electronic Spending Rises 0.5% In March

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Overall credit card spending in New Zealand climbed a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent on month in March, Statistics New Zealand said on Tuesday.

That was in line with forecasts following the upwardly revised 0.7 percent decline in February (originally -1.0 percent).

Retail credit card spending slipped 0.3 percent - missing expectations for an increase of 0.5 percent following the 0.6 percent decline in the previous month.

Retail spending using electronic cards was NZ$5.2 billion in March, up NZ$279 million (5.6 percent) from March 2016.

"The fall in retail card spending in the March month was driven by a decrease in fuel spending, which coincides with a price drop of fuel," business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly said. "However, fuel spending for the March quarter remained high."

Spending fell in three of the six retail industries in March. The largest fall came from the fuel industry, down NZ$12 million (1.9 percent). This fall follows a NZ$14 million (2.2 percent) rise in February.

Core retail spending (which excludes the vehicle-related industries) fell 0.1 percent in March after a 0.7 percent fall in February.

For the first quarter of 2017, retail spending using electronic cards rose 1.7 percent after a 1.5 percent rise in the three months prior.

"The rise in retail card spending in the March quarter was driven by an increase in fuel spending," Kelly said.

Spending rose in five of the six retail industries in the March quarter. The largest rise came from the fuel industry, up $126 million (7.0 percent).

Core retail spending gained 1.2 percent in Q1 after a 1.0 percent rise in the previous three months.

Retail spending using electronic cards was NZ$15.1 billion in the first quarter, up NZ$669 million or 4.6 percent on year.

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