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Financial News: New Zealand Q4 GDP Drops 1.0% On Quarter

New Zealand Q4 GDP Drops 1.0% On Quarter

03/17/2021 - 19:48:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - New Zealand's gross domestic product contracted 1.0 percent on quarter in the fourth quarter of 2020, Statistics New Zealand said on Thursday.

That missed forecasts for an increase of 0.1 percent following the downwardly revised 13.9 percent increase in the previous three months (originally 14.0 percent).

"The dip in activity in the December quarter follows record growth in the September 2020 quarter," national accounts senior manager Paul Pascoe said. "The September quarter reflected a bounce back after a slump in the June quarter, due to the COVID-19 national lockdown when many businesses were shut for weeks."

Goods-producing industries declined by 3.2 percent in the December 2020 quarter following a strong rise in the September quarter. The decline in goods-producing industries was led by construction, which fell by 8.7 percent, followed by a 0.7 percent fall in manufacturing. Electricity, gas, water, and waste services was the only goods-producing industry to rise in the quarter, up 1.9 percent. On an annual basis, goods-producing industries fell 4.4 percent.

The construction industry was the primary contributor to the decline in GDP, after record quarterly growth in the September 2020 quarter. On a sub-industry level, the fall was driven by construction services, heavy and civil construction and non-residential construction, while residential construction rose over the quarter. On an annual basis, construction was down 7.3 percent in the year ended December 2020.

Imports rose by 9.1 percent in the December 2020 quarter, driven by a 9.0 percent rise in the import of goods, primarily in passenger motor cars. On an annual basis, imports were down 16.5 percent. Imports of services rose 9.4 percent in the quarter but were down 29.8 percent on an annual basis.

Exports fell 1.1 percent in the December 2020 quarter, driven by a 17.3 percent decline in export of services. This reflects the impact of COVID-19 border restrictions on international visitor spending at a time of year when it normally increases. Export of goods rose 3.5 percent, driven by roughly equal rises in dairy products and other food, beverages, and tobacco. On an annual basis, exports were down 12.0 percent.

Household spending rose 1.1 percent in the December 2020 quarter, driven by a 3.8 percent rise in household spending on services. Household spending on durable and non-durable goods were both down 1.5 and 1.0 percent, respectively, after strong rebounds in the September 2020 quarter.

On a yearly basis, GDP sank 0.9 percent - again missing expectations for an increase of 0.5 percent following the downwardly revised 0.2 percent gain in the three months prior (originally 0.4 percent).

For all of 2020, GDP was down 2.9 percent.

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