New Zealand: Earthquake fails to shake retail sales
June 15, 2011
Despite disruptions in economic activity as a consequence of the tremor that hit the country in February, nominal retail sales expanded a seasonally adjusted 2.0% in the first quarter, marking the strongest print since the first quarter of 2007. The reading contrasted the unchanged figure observed in the fourth quarter and was in line with market expectations. According to the National Statistics Institute, this is the first quarterly Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006 (ANZSIC06) survey of retail sales, which collects sales data on a quarterly rather than monthly basis. The quarterly rise was mainly the result of higher sales in motor vehicles and parts, as well as in fuel retailing. Compared to the same period the year before, retail sales grew 3.4% in the first quarter, more than half the previous quarter's 1.5% increase. Despite the first quarter improvement, the trend continues to point to a faltering recovery, with annual average growth in retail sales dropping from 3.8% in the fourth quarter to 3.2% in the first quarter.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist