15 Aug 2008

Further sign that NZ economy in recession

12:26 pm on 15 August 2008

The volume of retail sales is down for the second successive quarter - providing further signs the New Zealand economy is in recession.

A recession is calculated as two consecutive quarters of contraction in the economy.

Statistics New Zealand says seasonally adjusted retail sales fell 0.2% in the June quarter, as households paid more for fuel and food.

Excluding price changes, June quarter retail sales slumped 1.5% to $14.1 billion - the steepest fall since 1995. It follows a 1.2% decline in the March quarter.

Higher fuel and food prices have squeezed household budgets, reflected in falling demand for cars and fuel, and supermarket and grocery goods. Recreational sales also fell.

Goldman Sachs JB Were economist Shamubeel Eaqub also says retailers have been caught by the fall in demand, with a build-up of stocks.

The New Zealand currency reacted positively, with the dollar rising above US70 cents on Friday morning.