New Zealand credit card spending rose for a third straight month in February, adding to signs that kiwis may be becoming a little less gloomy.
Total billings rose 0.5 per cent, seasonally adjusted, last month to $2.7 billion, according to Reserve Bank figures. That follows gains of 0.6 per cent in January and 0.9 per cent in December. In the year, billings rose 4 per cent.
The increase in the latest month was driven by domestic billings on New Zealand credit cards, which rose 1.2 per cent to $2.3 billion, the fastest monthly increase since October last year.
Overseas billings on New Zealand credit cards fell 1.2 per cent to $249 million, the biggest monthly decline since September 2011.
The card figures come after a report this week showed consumer confidence rose in the first three months of the year, climbing back from a fourth-quarter slump.
The Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence Index rose 1.1 points to 102.4 in the latest quarter, having tumbled to 101.3 in the fourth quarter, which was the lowest since 2009.
Total billings on New Zealand credit cards overseas fell to $374 million from $411 million in January, according to the RBNZ figures today.
Government data released earlier in the month showed electronic card spending fell 0.3 per cent in February, following a 0.9 per cent rise in January.