15 Nov 2011

Spending cautious despite World Cup boost - economist

7:37 am on 15 November 2011

An economist says global volatility will keep the Reserve Bank on the sidelines when it comes to raising interest rates, even though the Rugby World Cup has provided an impressive boost to the economy in recent months.

Official figures show retail spending volumes, which strip out price changes, rose a seasonally-adjusted 2.2% in the three months to the end of September.

It's the biggest quarterly rise in almost five years, and has been largely driven by supermarket, accommodation, food and drinks purchases made by the 80,000 visitors for the Rugby World Cup.

However, UBS senior economist Robin Clements says while international visitors may be happy to spend, New Zealanders remain cautious.

He says he's not expecting such a large increase next quarter.

Mr Clements says that will be when spending on Rugby World Cup tickets shows up, in figures for private consumption rather than retail spending.

He says it will be difficult for the fourth quarter to show growth and it may in fact fade a little.

He says the stronger the economy is here, the greater the likelihood the Reserve Bank will want to lift interest rates at some point.

"But that point is unlikely to be this year and the exact timing for next year is going to be more likely a function of how global events play out, in Europe in particular," he says.