13 Sep 2013

Credit card spending unlikely to bump up OCR

7:32 am on 13 September 2013

Latest electronic card spending figures show stronger housing activity is boosting consumer confidence, but the data is unlikely to prompt the Reserve Bank to move sooner to raise interest rates.

Debit and credit card spending rose 0.8% in August as people bought more large household items such as furniture, hardware and applicances.

Statistics New Zealand says spending on durables pushed up the value of core retail transactions, which increased 1.1% in August compared with July.

ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley said increased housing market activity is boosting the durables sector.

"Consumers are feeling a little bit more confident and they're opening up their wallets a little bit more, so we have seen the general trend in spending growth pick up a little bit over the last year.

"But of course we are still spending in relative moderation compared to the really strong boom times that we had round 2005, 2006, 2007."

Mr Tuffley said the rise in spending may mean retailers will be less aggressive with their discounting and will be able to rebuild their margins.