New Zealand economy up in Q1 as construction, exports rise

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Wellington, New Zealand (4E) – New Zealand’s economy continued its robust growth in the first quarter, helped by a rise in construction activity and exports.

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) climbed 1.0 percent on the quarter in the three months ended March 31, according to data from Statistics New Zealand released Thursday. The GDP edged higher 3.8 percent on the year. Both figures largely matched forecasts by 14 economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal who called for gains of 1.2 percent on the quarter and 3.7 percent on the year.

Higher dairy exports to China, the rebuilding efforts in earthquake-damaged Christchurch and the largest immigration in 11 years suggest New Zealand’s economy is rising faster than its capacity, resulting to price pressures.

Thursday’s report showed that construction climbed 12.5 percent on the quarter, largely due to higher activity in both residential and nonresidential building. Statistics New Zealand said that building activity was high in Canterbury but also in the rest of New Zealand.

Exports, which account for around 30 percent of the nation’s economy, climbed 3.1 percent, boosted by gains in meat and dairy products as well as major products such as kiwifruit and apples, according to the statistics agency. Imports inched up 1.7 percent, driven by capital goods purchases.

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