According to preliminary figures from the quarterly national accounts, household spending increased by 0.4 per cent from the second to the third quarter, adjusted for normal seasonal variations. Consumer spending in the three first quarters of 1997 was 3.5 per cent higher than consumer spending in the same period in 1996, measured in constant prices.
The second quarter saw strong growth in purchases of recreational equipment and durable goods such as furniture and electrical appliances. That growth has now come to a halt and spending on such merchandise was lower in the third than in the second quarter. The same was the case with purchases of clothing and shoes. So far this year growth in spending on furniture, electrical appliances, recreational equipment and clothing is still over seven per cent and has contributed almost 27 per cent of the total growth in spending.
Consumer spending on cars climbed by one per cent from the second to the third quarter, corrected for seasonal fluctuations. New car sales in the first three months of this year were nearly 11 per cent higher than during the same period in 1996. Spending on food and beverages otherwise saw the strongest seasonally adjusted growth from the second to the third quarter. Food and beverage consumption, however, grew moderately earlier in 1997, and so far this year it is only slightly higher than the same period in 1996, measured in constant prices.
Weekly Bulletin issue no. 49, 1997