New Zealand wholesale trade industry saw a dip in the last quarter sales for 2015. The fall in sales of basic material products including minerals, metals and agriculture aided snap two quarters of gains. Seasonally adjusted sales fell 0.2% in the three months ended December 31, turning around a 3% increase in the September quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand.
Actual wholesale sales increased 2.4% to $24.97 billion in the last quarter ended December 31 from the same period a year earlier, with motor vehicles and auto parts trading up 8.4% and grocery, liquor and tobacco products 7.6% higher than December 2014. Basic material trade dropped 3.8% from a year earlier, its fourth straight decline.
Wholesale trade covers intermediary transactions between manufacturers and consumers, which feeds into the national accounts and is used by economists to predict wider economic activity. Statistics NZ changed its methodology in collecting data for the September survey to use more administrative data and reduce its reliance on surveys while also ending its split of raw materials and finished goods in measuring total stocks.
The quarterly decline was led by a 2.7% drop in basic material sales, which spans agricultural, mineral, metal and chemical, and timber and hardware goods and products, its third fall in four quarters. Grocery, liquor and tobacco product sales fell 1.6% in the quarter, snapping three quarters of increases. The data showed wholesale stocks were up 5.6% to $10.79 billion as at Dec. 31 from a year earlier. On a seasonally adjusted basis, stocks grew 2.6% in the quarter.