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A solid private consumption growth, as represented by a sharp rise in retail spending volumes, supports the case for a 0.6 percent growth rate in the December quarter, New Zealand Treasury’s report on economic indicators for February 2019 released soon before press time showed.  

Key points

The unemployment rate rose to 4.3% in the December quarter, from 4.0% (revised) in the September quarter.

Retail sales volumes rebounded in the December quarter.

Trading partner growth stabilized in the December quarter.

New Zealand’s 16 largest trading partners expanded 3.6% in 2018Q4 from the same quarter the previous year, but growth appears to have eased in the first quarter of 2019.