Data from the JCC Payment Systems joint venture run by local commercial banks show that the government dominated plastic card use by Cypriots in January.
According to figures by merchant group and by volume, the government had the highest proportion of sales in January at 24.74% of the total, followed by supermarkets with 17.64% and clothing retailers with 14.43%.
The remainder amounted to 43.2%.
Perhaps the reason for the high volume of transactions with the government was the renewal of road tax permits due at the end of January.
Other data from JCC show that local plastic card use by Cyprus residents rose by 21% in January 2009 when compared with the same period of 2008.
According to JCC, total purchases using Cyprus-issued cards reached EUR 184 mln in January.
Expenditure by Cyprus residents abroad rose in the same period by 12% to EUR 82 mln. Meanwhile, expenditure by foreigners in Cyprus tumbled by 19%, reaching EUR 18 mln.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot spending in the south amounted to EUR 1.3 mln in January. The biggest item was supermarkets, at EUR 316,258, followed by clothing at EUR 271,854.
Spending by Greek Cypriots in the north and Turkey amounted to EUR 690,973, the largest expenditure being on entertainment at EUR 459,254.
Fiona Mullen, www.sapientaeconomics.com
February 09, 2009 – www.financialmirror.com