Retail spending on electronic cards inched higher in October as petrol prices rose to record levels, boosting fuel spending. However this was largely offset by a decline in payments on vehicles and apparel.

Seasonally-adjusted total retail spending on credit and debit cards rose 0.1 percent between September and October, after a 1.1 percent increase in September, Statistics New Zealand said. Core retail spending, which excludes vehicle-related industries, was flat, after gaining 1.1 percent in September.

“A quiet October for retail card spending followed rises of more than 1 percent in both September and August,” retail statistics manager Sue Chapman said in a statement.

“Most retail industries showed softer results in October, except the fuel industry,” Chapman said. “Petrol prices at the pump reached a record high in October, then started falling towards the end of the month.”

Today’s data shows card spending rose in four of the six retail industries in October. Spending on fuel rose 1.4 percent, while seasonally-adjusted durables spending advanced 0.4 percent in the month. Spending on apparel such as clothing, footwear and accessories slid 1.2 percent.

Compared to 2017, however, card spending was strong. Total retail spend using electronic cards of $5.5 billion in October, was 6.2 percent higher than the same month a year earlier.

Cardholders across all industries made 150 million transactions in the month, up from 143 million in September. The average value per transaction rose to $49 in October, up from $48 in September. 

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