GDP rose 0.8% in first quarter

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The economy grew 0.8 percent in the first three months of this year, Statistics New Zealand said this morning. This follows GDP expansion of 0.5% in the December 2010 quarter.

"The strong growth in the latest quarter despite the 22 February earthquake, was mainly due to manufacturing," national accounts manager Rachael Milicich said.

"While some businesses in Christchurch were adversely affected, the vast majority were able to continue operating, and the earthquake resulted in some activity that would not normally have taken place."

By industry, the significant movements in the March 2011 quarter were in:

  • manufacturing, up 3.6 percent, with large increases in machinery, metal product, and food and beverage manufacturing 
  • real estate and business services category, up 1.0 percent due to increases in business services
  • wholesale trade, up 1.5 percent – the sixth consecutive increase
  • construction activity, down 4.3 percent due to decreases in residential and non-residential building

The expenditure measure of GDP rose 0.6 percent in the March 2011 quarter. The production measure of GDP (up 0.8 percent) is less volatile and is the preferred measure.

GDP increased 1.5 percent in the year ended March 2011, while the expenditure measure rose 1.8 percent.

Notable movements in the expenditure measure of GDP in the March 2011 quarter were:

  • the volume of spending by New Zealand households (up 0.4 percent), mainly due to an increase in durable goods (such as furniture and appliances) 
  • government expenditure (up 1.2 percent), with increases in central and local government partly due to the 22 February earthquake 
  • investment in fixed assets (down 1.3 percent), with the largest fall being in non-residential building

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