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New Zealand Considers Stopping Monthly Retail Trade Reports

New Zealand may discontinue some monthly figures on retail sales, preferring to focus on a newer gauge that measures credit- and debit-card spending.

“There’s a proposal out for consultation, but nothing has been finalized,” Louise Holmes-Oliver, business statistics manager at Statistics New Zealand in Christchurch, said today in an interview. The agency will retain a quarterly retail sales series, including the inflation adjusted figures that are used to produce gross domestic product reports, she said.

The electronic cards transaction series, which was first published in February 2007, comes out less than two weeks after the end of the month, while the retail sales figures have about a six-week lag before publication.

“The ECT data is just so much more timely,” said Darren Gibbs, chief New Zealand economist at Deutsche Bank AG in Auckland. “Over time, the data is going to get better and better as just about every transaction becomes electronic.”

The government’s statistics office publishes monthly retail data along with its quarterly figures. The most recent card spending report, released Nov. 9, showed a 0.8 percent gain in October after a revised 1.7 percent increase in September.

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