New Zealand wholesale trade rose for the seventh consecutive quarter in the last three months of 2017, with all industries reporting higher sales

Seasonally adjusted sales advanced 3 per cent in the December quarter, following a 1.4 per cent rise in the September quarter and marking the largest increase since the September 2010 quarter, when sales values gained 3.8 per cent, Statistics New Zealand said.

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. In the latest period, all six wholesale industries recorded gains.

Basic materials wholesaling had the largest increase in sales value, up 6.3 per cent from the September quarter.

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Stats NZ said other agricultural products wholesaling, which includes businesses supplying products such as livestock, feed, seed, and fertiliser, was the main contributor to the increase, and noted petroleum products and hardware goods also made sizeable contributions to the increase.

Machinery and equipment had the second-largest rise of all industries, up 3.3 per cent, Stats NZ said. Machinery and equipment includes agricultural and construction machinery, computer and computer peripherals, telecommunication goods, and professional and scientific goods.

The third-largest rise in sales value by industry was in motor vehicles and parts, including cars and trucks, which gained 5.9 per cent in the December quarter, following a 3 per cent fall in the September quarter, Stats NZ said.

"The sales rise in motor vehicles and parts wholesaling coincides with a recent increase in retail sales of vehicles and parts," said Stats NZ wholesale trade manager Sue Chapman.

Actual wholesale trade sales of $27.91 billion in the December quarter were up 8.4 per cent from the same period in 2016. The total value of wholesale stocks held at December 31 was $11.56b, up 7.2 per cent from a year earlier.