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Card spending erratic on virus fears

Spending data from payment provider Paymark showed mixed results in January and February, with the impact of coronavirus starting to affect public confidence. 

Overall spending across the Paymark network rose 6.7 per cent in February on the prior year, totalling $5.19 billion – with the extra day afforded by the fact 2020 is a leap year pushing the number higher.

Though spending through China-issued credit cards had been up in January 19.8 per cent over the prior year, by the end of February had fallen 39.3 per cent.

Total foreign-issued card spending rose 4.1 per cent in January, and 12.7 per cent in February.

Spending data for China-issued cards has been muted for the last year, with January seeing the first positive result since the same time last year. 

Despite this, certain sectors have seen a boost, with the pharmaceutical retail sector seeing 94.1 per cent growth in spending from China-issued cards in January, and a further 4.4 per cent growth in February. 

Supermarkets and chemists saw a spike in spending at the end of February across all payment types, with spending in supermarkets up 40.2 per cent and chemists 75.5 per cent. 

The data shows that New Zealanders are not immune to the public concerns surrounding the spread of coronavirus sweeping the globe, with multiple countries reporting empty supermarket shelves.

The data comes as the second case of coronavirus was confirmed in New Zealand.

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