13 Feb 2017

Electronic card spending rises in January

2:03 pm on 13 February 2017

Spending using electronic cards has gained momentum, reflecting the strength of the New Zealand economy.

Eftpos machine

Core retail spending rose 2.5 percent in January, with people spending more on "big ticket" items such as furniture and appliances. Photo: 123rf

Official figures show spending using debit, credit and charge cards rose a seasonally-adjusted 2.7 percent in January, when compared with December's flat result.

That was the strongest monthly gain since 2006.

People spent more on big ticket items such as furniture and appliances, along with clothing and fuel.

Core retail spending, which excludes vehicle-related sectors, rose 2.5 percent.

A senior economist at Westpac, Satish Ranchhod, said the numbers suggested the outlook for retail spending was solid.

"Population growth remains strong, employment is up, and we continue to see strong tourist inflows," he said.

Mr Ranchhod said there was some headwinds.

"The one big cloud on the horizon is the recent increase in interest rates... but with interest rates still relatively low, and a range of other supportive factors in play, we expect that spending will remain firm for some time yet," he added.

Electronic card spending makes up about two-thirds of retail sales.