By Rebecca Howard
Dec. 7 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's wholesale trade rose for the 11th straight quarter with kiwifruit exports the standout performer.
Seasonally adjusted sales increased 2.5 percent in the three months ended Sept. 30 after a 2.6 percent rise in the June quarter, Statistics New Zealand said.
Five of the six wholesaling industries were up in the September 2018 quarter. The largest industry increase was in grocery, liquor, and tobacco wholesaling, which was up 4.1 percent.
“This industry’s increase was led by higher sales for kiwifruit exports,” wholesale trade manager Sue Chapman said.
Wholesale trade covers intermediary transactions between manufacturers and consumers, which feeds into the national accounts and is used by economists to predict wider economic activity.
Sales of basic materials, which includes some agricultural products such as hides and stock feed, hardware goods, metals, minerals, petroleum, and timber wholesaling, rose 3.4 percent, while machinery and equipment gained 1.7 percent, other goods, such as clothing and footwear, pharmaceutical and toiletry goods, and paper products, increased 0.2 percent, and commission-based wholesale sales rose 6 percent.
The only sub-group that fell was the motor vehicle and motor-vehicle parts industry, which dipped 0.2 percent after lifting 3.6 percent in June. “Toyota New Zealand changed their operating model in April. As a result, there’s some shift in activity and stocks from retail trade into the wholesale trade sector,” Chapman said.
Inventories lifted 2.8 percent on the quarter, with stocks of motor vehicles and parts up 1 percent, grocery, food and liquor product stocks up 2.3 percent, and machinery and equipment wholesale inventories increasing 4.6 percent. Stocks of basic materials rose 6.9 percent, while other goods stocks lifted 4.5 percent.
Unadjusted wholesale trade sales climbed 8.6 percent to $27.7 billion in the September quarter from a year earlier, while inventories were 13 percent higher at $12.9 billion.