New Zealand’s economy posted better-than-expected growth of 1.6 percent in the first quarter of 2021, official data showed Thursday, with analysts saying activity was back at pre-coronavirus levels.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
The expansion in January-March this year exceeded forecasts of a 0.5 percent rise and reversed a 1.0 percent contraction in the final quarter of 2020.
Statistics New Zealand said the figures meant the economy grew 2.4 percent in the 12 months to the end of March, driven by spending on hospitality and big-ticket retail goods such as televisions and cars.
New Zealand has largely contained the coronavirus, with no recent community transmission and just 26 deaths in a population of five million, allowing minimal day-to-day restrictions.
While there was a brief recession in mid-2020, Kiwibank chief economist Jarrod Kerr said surging domestic activity had more than made up for declines recorded in sectors such as tourism and international education.
Kerr said a booming housing market was fueling construction, which rose 6.6 percent in the quarter.
“The economy has confidently returned to pre-Covid levels,” he said.
“We’ve more than dodged a double dip recession. We’ve outrun it. We’re spending and building our way out of the hole that Covid created.”
Kerr said the strong figures meant the central bank, which has held its base rate at a record low of 0.25 percent since March 2020, would likely look at easing monetary policy by May next year.
New Zealand to apologize for ‘racist’ historic police raids
COVID-19 pandemic shakes up rankings of world’s most livable cities
New Zealand pauses quarantine-free travel to Australian state
New Zealand to apologize for ‘racist’ historic police raidsPrime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday she will offer a formal apology to New Zealand’s Pacific community over “demeaning” police raids that ... World News
COVID-19 pandemic shakes up rankings of world’s most livable citiesThe pandemic has shaken up the rankings of the world’s most livable cities, a study released on Wednesday showed, with metropolises in Australia, ... Travel and Tourism
New Zealand pauses quarantine-free travel to Australian stateNew Zealand has halted quarantine-free travel to Australia’s state of New South Wales while it investigates the source of infection of two cases ... Coronavirus