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Oceania   The government statistics agency:

Immigration, cars driving New Zealand retail sales

New Zealand carsImmigration is believed to be driving rising car sales, which have bolstered total retail sales in New Zealand, the government statistics agency said.

Car sales rose 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter, pushing up the volume of total retail trade by 0.8 percent, according to Statistics New Zealand.

READ MORE Car sales drive growth in New Zealand retail sales

Motor vehicles sales led most of the quarterly industry movements over 2016.

More expensive cars and SUVs (sports utility vehicles) were selling well, especially in the largest city of Auckland -- home to a third of the population, business indicators manager Tehseen Islam said.

"Some of the increase in car sales may reflect a growing population, with net migration at record levels in 2016," Islam said in a statement.

The rise in total retail sales volumes followed a similar 0.8-percent rise in the third quarter, and a stronger 2.2-percent rise in the second quarter.

The value of total retail sales rose by 22.8 billion NZ dollars ($16.46 billion), or 1.1 percent, in the fourth quarter.

Motor vehicle and parts retailing had the largest industry rise, up 2.7 percent, or 79 million NZ dollars ($57.03 million).

The value of total retail sales was up 4.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015.




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