NZ House Sales rise 44%
New Zealand’s retail sales rose for the second time in three months in April, adding to signs that record-low interest rates and income-tax cuts may help the economy emerge from a recession later this year. Higher retail and property sales add to signs the economy may emerge from the worst recession in more than three decades by the end of this year. Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard yesterday kept the benchmark interest rate unchanged for the first time in a year, saying household spending may rebound. House sales rose 44 percent in May from a year earlier, the Real Estate Institute said yesterday. Consumer confidence in May rose to the highest since September, according to a Roy Morgan Research poll. Retail sales increased in 14 of the 24 store categories measured in today’s report, led by a 3.5 percent gain in car purchases. Core retail sales, which exclude car yards, fuel outlets and workshops, declined 0.1 percent. Department store sales gained 4 percent. Cafe and restaurant trading also increased. Supermarket and grocery sales, which make up one-fifth of all retailing, rose 0.2 percent. Food prices fell 0.6 percent in April as stores discounted some grocery items, the agency said.