Hawke's Bay Today

Kiwis splurge on credit cards

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New Zealanders racked up more on their credit cards in January with increased purchases of durable goods and big-ticket items. Core retail spending on credit and debit cards rose a seasonally-adjusted 2.2 per cent in January, reversing the 1.7 per cent decline reported in December, Statistics New Zealand said. Including petrol and vehiclerel­ated spending, purchases were up 1.8 per cent. That was led by a 5.1 per cent lift in spending on durable goods, such as hardware, appliances, and furniture. Spending was up across all categories except fuel, which was down 0.5 per cent. “Spending in the durables industry bounced back from the December 2018 month,” retail statistics manager Sue Chapman said in a statement. “A lag in processing of transactio­ns may have contribute­d to the December and January movements.” A number of retailers have given a fairly subdued assessment of the Christmas-New Year trading period. That is despite consumer confidence surveys remaining upbeat. The data also shows more of those purchases were made on credit. Just over 54 per cent of January’s transactio­ns were made on credit cards, the highest proportion since Stats NZ started tracking the breakdown in 2002. Calendar 2018 was also the first time credit card transactio­ns were a bigger proportion of transactio­ns than debit cards.

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