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Higher spending in spite of higher petrol prices

The annual growth rate picked up in Auckland/Northland during October, rising to 5.1% which is above the 12-month average of 3.3%. Excluding petrol stations, the ex-fuel annual growth rate was also 5.1% and up on previous months, suggesting the region is coping well with the sharp rise in fuel prices in recent months. Spending at housing-related merchants, up 9.8%, is a key driving force. A countering force remains lower spending (-9.8%) amongst Auckland/Northland accommodation merchants.


Further sign of consumers shrugging off the higher petrol prices was strong spending growth during Labour weekend. Spending nationally was up 8.1% amongst non-fuel merchants over the weekend, including 22.1% more at liquor merchants and 21.5% more amongst hardware and home decorating stores. Excluding fuel, highest growth rates were recorded away from the major centres at West Coast (19.9%), Gisborne (+15.1%), Wanganui (+13.0%) and Southland (+13.7%).

Bay of Plenty also recorded doubt-digit annual growth over Labour weekend but this was surpassed by an 11.1% annual non-fuel growth rate on Wednesday 31 October, the day of the royal visit to Rotorua. Conversely, below average non-fuel spending growth was reported in the days before in Wellington on Sunday (5.5%), Nelson on Monday (1.2%) and Auckland/Northland on Tuesday (0.1%), providing mixed spending effects coinciding with the royal visit

Spending across all regions over the month was up only 0.1% since September in seasonally adjusted terms, and was unchanged once fuel sales were excluded, but the national annual growth rate of 6.4% remains similar to the average of the previous 12 months. Spending growth was strongest in Gisborne (+14.0%), Palmerston North (+12.8%), Wanganui (+12.3%) and Wairarapa (11.0%). Slowest annual growth was recorded in Canterbury (4.7%).

PAYMARK All Cards Data (October 2018 versus same month 2017)
transactions millions
Annual % change
transactions $millions
Annual % change
Auckland/Northland 44.544.9%$2,133.4 5.1%
Waikato 8.457.5%$382.4 8.5%
BOP 7.669.0%$357.0 8.6%
Gisborne 1.0711.2%$46.1 14.0%
Taranaki 2.407.7%$104.5 9.7%
Hawke's Bay 3.296.2%$149.2 8.4%
Wanganui 1.319.8%$53.1 12.3%
Palmerston North 3.688.1%$183.5 12.8%
Wairarapa 1.1510.0%$50.1 11.0%
Wellington 12.005.5%$503.2 6.1%
Nelson 2.013.3%$98.2 5.0%
Marlborough 1.269.1%$61.5 10.2%
West Coast 0.677.2%$34.3 9.3%
Canterbury 12.324.4%$566.8 4.7%
South Canterbury 1.645.5%$82.1 6.7%
Otago 6.326.0%$294.7 6.4%
Southland 2.407.7%$119.4 10.5%
New Zealand 112.965.9%$5,269.8 6.4%
* Underlying spending excludes large clients moving to or from Paymark within recent years

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