Retail Sales climb 0.7% in New Zealand in the December quarter

on Feb 24, 2020
Updated: Mar 11, 2020
  • Retail Sales climb 0.7% in New Zealand in the December quarter versus 0.8% expected.
  • Core retail sales in New Zealand gained 0.5% in the recent quarter versus 0.9% expected.
  • Statistics New Zealand announced a 3.3% annual gain in total real retail spending.

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Statistics New Zealand released the quarterly retail sales report on Monday. The data suggested the retail sales to have gained 0.7% in the quarter that ended in December. The retail sales report was expected to be the major market mover for the Kiwi dollar in the forex market.

NZ Retail Sales Rose 1.7% In The Previous Quarter

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The gain in NZ retail sales in the December quarter was highlighted as significantly lower than the 1.7% increase that Statistics New Zealand had reported in the previous quarter. Analysts were expecting the figure to print at a marginally higher, 0.8% for the recent quarter.

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Excluding the volatile components, the so-called core retail sales, on the other hand, noted a 0.5% increase in the December quarter. Core retail sales recorded a much higher 1.9% gain in the previous quarter while analysts had forecast a great 0.9% increase in the recent quarter.

Monday’s data also accentuated a 3.3% annual increase in total real retail spending as compared to 4.5% that was registered earlier.

The economic data suggested moderate growth in spending in New Zealand towards the end of the last year. The quarterly gain in retail sales, as per the experts, was fueled by a stronger housing market and improved real incomes in the recent quarter. Fading population growth, however, continued to weigh on the overall spending.

Spending Patterns Were Mixed Across Different Sectors

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Spending patterns were reported positive in categories like recreational goods and electronics. Other sectors like department stores and groceries, on the other hand, posted a decline in spending that offset their previous gains of the September quarter.

While the NZ retail sector failed to present growth in terms of prices on an annual basis, the recent quarter recorded a 0.4% growth in total prices. Core prices (excluding fuel), on the other hand, were more optimistic with a 0.6% gain in the quarter that ended in December and a 0.7% growth annually.

NZ authorities have been reiterating recently that the Coronavirus outbreak in China is likely to weigh on retail spending in the upcoming months. Sectors like hospitality and travel/tourism are expected to take the hardest hit.

Against the expectations, Monday’s data was unable to stir a significant move in the forex market. The interest rate market wasn’t budged following the release of the data either. At the time of writing, the NZ dollar is trading at 0.66022 against the greenback.

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