The rise - of 0.8% of GDP for the March quarter - was well above the consensus forecast of 0.4% and covers the period of the second, and most calamitous, Christchurch earthquake.
It also came at a time when many people were musing about the possibility of a double dip recession.
Today’s result – which was delayed, partly because of the Christchurch earthquake and partly (from last week) because the result was so unexpectedly upbeat Statistics New Zealand staff re-checked the numbers – confounds the pessimists.
Today’s figures also revise the December quarter’s GDP figure, which was recorded at the time as 0.2% but is now 0.5%.
That takes annual GDP to 1.5%.
Although historical, today’s result provides an unexpectedly firm base for what is already shaping up to be a strong second half of the year (see tomorrow’s National Business Review for more).
The largest contributor was manufacturing, where output rose 3.6%, with machinery and equipment manufacturing leading the way. This follows a 3.5% rise in the previous quarter
Primary industry activity actually declined, by 0.6%, mostly due to a 5.3 % drop in mining activity. Forestry and logging fell by a margin-of-effort 0.1%, after a 6.1% rise in the December quarter.
Agricultural output rose 1%, primarily due to a rise in milk production.
The main decline in activity was the construction sector, where output fell 4.3%
Service industry output rose 0.5%, with a 1% rise in real estate and business services being the main contributor. Within this sub-group, a rise in accountancy and legal activity is the main driver, probably due to the usual end-of-financial year rise in activity but also because of the tax changes affecting the property sector which took effect form 1 April.
The crucial area of imports of a capital goods rose by 5.4% for the quarter, which is in line with recent trade and current account data and which also confirms that firms are making use of the combination of a high New Zealand dollar and low interest rates to boost their plant and machinery investment.
The government sector output rose 1.2%, mostly due to continued increases in local government activity, which rose 6.6%, although this time these seem mostly linked to the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake.
This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags
Most listened to
- NBR's veteran budget reporter Rob Hosking breaks down the key points
- AUT professor John Tookey says the government is far behind the curve when it comes to housing and Auckland transport
- BNZ's Craig Ebert on the Budget 2016 forecasts
- Grant Thornton's Greg Thompson on the Budget tax measures and the focus on debt repayment
- EY's David Snell says IRD's IT overhaul will be at the cost of about 1,000 jobs