NZ net migration climbs to decade-high in September as Australian exodus slows

New Zealand's inbound net migration rose to a decade-high in September as new migrants continued to arrive and the exodus across the Tasman kept dwindling.

New Zealand's inbound net migration rose to a decade-high in September as new migrants continued to arrive and the exodus across the Tasman kept dwindling.

The country gained a seasonally adjusted 2,700 migrants in September, the biggest monthly net gain since July 2003, extending the run of monthly gains to nine, according to Statistics New Zealand. The seasonally adjusted net loss of 790 migrants to Australia was the smallest monthly number since September 2003, as fewer New Zealanders seek a better life across the Tasman.

On an annual basis, there was a net gain of some 15,200 migrants in the year ended Sept. 30, turning around a net loss of 3,300 a year earlier. That was led by a net gain of 6,000 migrants from the UK, 5,400 from China and 5,100 from India.

"With unemployment in Australia expected to hit around 6.5 percent next year, we expect net immigration to rise even further in 2014, which would make this New Zealand's biggest migration cycle since the early 2000s," Westpac Banking Corp senior economic Felix Delbruck said in a note."

"These numbers are big enough to matter for the housing market over the short to medium term - and are one reason why we are expecting house prices to keep rising over the year ahead (albeit at a slower pace), despite the headwinds of lending restrictions and recent rises in fixed-term mortgage rates," he said.

Last month, the Reserve Bank last cited stronger than expected migration figures as one of the reasons for lifting its outlook for interest rates next year. The central bank held the official cash rate at 2.5 percent and ramped up its forecast for increases to the 90-day bank bill rate, often seen as a proxy for the OCR, with a sharper lift in the middle of next year.

Today's figures showed a 7 percent gain in short-term visitor arrivals to 191,100 in September from a year earlier, led by increasing visitor numbers from China and Australia. Visitor arrivals were up 3 percent to 2.67 million on an annual basis.

(BusinessDesk)