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NZ spending on credit cards increases in July

NZ spending on credit cards increases in July as retailers get some relief

By Paul McBeth

Aug. 19 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealanders spent more on their credit cards last month, according to central bank figures, a sign the gradual economic recovery is giving households confidence to hit the stores.

Total credit card billings in New Zealand rose 1% to a seasonally adjusted $2.47 billion in July compared to the same month a year ago, according to Reserve Bank data. Spending has gained at an annual pace of 7.3% as people are happier to take on a little debt after what’s seemed like a protracted downturn.

“The 1% increase in billings is pretty encouraging, and coincides with an improvement in electronic card spending,” ASB economist Christina Leung said. “That’s in line with what we’re seeing in terms of retail spending in 2011 and the improvements in the household sector.”

Last week, the ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence survey showed people were more optimistic than they had been in seven months, and fed into recent data that’s beaten expectations.

Of the total local billings, some $238 million of that came from foreign issued cards. That was the biggest monthly spend on overseas issued cards since April, and came in a month where a surging kiwi dollar damped tourists’ appetite to visit New Zealand. Government data today showed short-term arrivals fell 4% compared July 2010.

Overseas billings on New Zealand cards fell 0.8% to $346 million last month, as the strong currency meant kiwis paid less in their holidays abroad.


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