N.Z. Credit Card Spending Contracts for Ninth Month
New Zealand Credit Card Spending declined for the ninth consecutive month on a year-over-year basis in July, by 2.0%. This occurred as the combined debit and credit card spending figure rose 0.8%. The combination of the two pieces of data might lead one to suggest that debit card spending dominated over purchases made with credit. Such an environment would be yield-negative. A drop in the demand for borrowed funds would incentivize banks and other lenders to drop the interest rate they charge to their customers in an effort to attract business. As such, the New Zealand Dollar could be hurt in the medium run as foreigners find that the country continues to diminish their own yield advantage over others.
On balance, the decline does not necessarily imply that New Zealanders have forfeited their shopping habits. A deeper look into the data shows that the use of credit cards abroad, by domestic residents, rose 4.5%. Tourism spending, however, may be cyclical and might not necessarily indicate that next month's figure will rise.