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Annual GDP Growth of 4.4 Percent

Annual GDP Growth of 4.4 Percent

Economic activity increased 0.8 percent in the December 2002 quarter following increases of 0.9 and 1.7 percent in the September and June quarters respectively, according to Statistics New Zealand. For the year ended December 2002, the economy grew by 4.4 percent.

Consumer spending was up 2.0 percent for the quarter. Household expenditure has been buoyant for the last 12 months, with annual spending on durable goods up 8.3 percent, new housing investment rising 20.5 percent and New Zealand residents' spending overseas increasing 8.8 percent. Increased business investment, up 4.0 percent, and a lift in exports also contributed to this quarter's rise in economic activity. Internal demand in the December 2002 quarter is now 4.0 percent higher than in the same quarter of the previous year.

Both exports and imports were up this quarter. Export volumes rose 2.8 percent, with dairy products and manufactured goods being the main contributors. Import volumes increased 3.1 percent, reflecting the overall rise in consumer spending and business investment. The main increases in imports were for machinery and electrical equipment, transport equipment, and services.

The growth this quarter mainly occurred in the service industries, which rose 1.3 percent and are now 4.2 percent higher on an annual basis. Major contributors to the quarterly increase in service activity were transport and communications, up 2.6 percent, personal and community services, up 1.1 percent, and finance, insurance and business services, up 0.9 percent.

Activity in primary industries was also up, largely due to a lift in dairy production. However, growth in goods-producing industries was flat, due to a fall in manufacturing production.

The expenditure-based measure of GDP, released concurrently with the production-based measure, recorded a 0.5 percent increase for the December quarter when compared with the September quarter.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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