Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


UPDATE: NZ economic growth keeps rate hike track intact

UPDATE: NZ economic growth keeps rate hike track intact

(Updates, adding economist comment)

By Paul McBeth

March 20 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand’s pace of growth in the final three months of the year, underpinned by a booming manufacturing sector, won’t derail the Reserve Bank’s path to higher interest rates this year.

Gross domestic product grew 0.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted $38.3 billion in the three months ended Dec. 31, from a revised pace of 1.2 percent in the September quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. That was in line with market expectations and slightly ahead of the Reserve Bank’s forecast of 0.8 percent growth in the quarter. Annual growth was 2.7 percent, and GDP was 3.1 percent higher than the same quarter a year earlier.

The pace of growth underpins signs the local economy is gathering momentum, which Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler says is creating inflationary pressures that require a monetary policy response. He kicked off a tightening cycle this month, lifting the official cash rate a quarter-point to 2.75 percent and anticipates raising the OCR another 2 percentage points over the next two years.

“Most people continue to think we’ve got at least two more rate hikes ahead of us in April and June,” said Darren Gibbs, chief economist at Deutsche Bank in Auckland. “July is a bit more debatable and depends how the data pans out.”

The Reserve Bank’s forecast track for the 90-day bank bill rate, often seen as a proxy for the OCR, projects the rate rising to 4 percent by the end of 2014 and 5.3 percent by March 2017. Traders have priced in 119 basis points of rate hikes over the coming 12 months, and give a 92 percent chance of an increase at the April meeting, according to the Overnight Index Swap curve.

The kiwi dollar fell to 85.37 US cents from 85.61 cents immediately before the figures were released, and recently traded at 85.38 cents.

Deutsche Bank’s Gibbs said given the GDP number was largely what people were expecting, the steeper forecast track for US interest rates by the Federal Reserve will be weighing more heavily on traders.

Westpac Banking Corp chief economist Dominick Stephens and senior economist Michael Gordon said in a note the central bank will have to gradually raise interest rates this year as the economy gathers momentum on the strength of the Canterbury rebuild, house building activity in Auckland, and 40-year high terms of trade.

“As interest rates rise, we suspect that the housing market will slow, consumer buoyancy will gradually diminish, and eventually, GDP growth will slow. But this is a process that could take years,” they said.

Today’s figures show manufacturing grew 2.1 percent to $5.15 billion in the quarter, its highest level since March 2006, and accelerating from 1.6 percent expansion in the September quarter. The BNZ-BusinessNZ performance of manufacturing index has shown activity has been expanding for the 18 months through to February.

Dairy production fell in the quarter as inventories were run down $18 million in the period, though other food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing made up for the shortfall. Transport equipment, machinery and equipment manufacturing grew 6.2 percent in the period.

Wholesale trade grew 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted $2.13 billion with machinery and equipment wholesaling the major contributor to the gain.

New Zealand’s primary industries grew 0.3 percent led by a 9.5 percent expansion in mining driven by exploration activity, while agriculture shrank 1.6 percent, forestry contracted 0.6 percent and fishing declined 0.7 percent.

Business services shrank 2.1 percent in the quarter, driven by slowing architectural and engineering, which has been at elevated levels in recent quarters to help prepare the $40 billion rebuild of Christchurch.

Other sectors to shrink in the quarter were information, media and telecommunications services, down 0.6 percent, and arts, recreation and other services, which fell 0.9 percent. All service industries grew 0.3 percent in the quarter.

Construction activity grew 0.4 percent in the quarter as investment in infrastructure made up for largely flat spending on residential housing and a decline in non-residential work. Investment in residential housing increased 0.1 percent to $1.75 billion in the quarter, while non-residential building fell 4.6 percent $853 million. Investment in other construction grew 8.8 percent to $1.08 billion.

Business investment, which strips out spending on residential property, grew 0.9 percent to $8.33 billion. Gross fixed capital formation rose 0.4 percent to $9.79 billion.

The expenditure measure of GDP grew 0.6 percent, lagging the 0.8 percent growth forecast in a Reuters survey of economists. The annual measure of GDP expenditure grew 2.5 percent. Household spending underpinned the quarterly gain, up 1.3 percent, led by expenditure on durable goods. Central government expenditure shrank 0.6 percent in the quarter.

Real gross national disposable income rose a seasonally adjusted 3.3 percent in the quarter.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Must Sell 20 Petrol Stations: Z Cleared To Buy Caltex Assets

Z Energy is allowed to buy the Caltex and Challenge! petrol station chains but must sell 19 of its retail sites and one truck-stop, the Commerce Commission has ruled in a split decision that acknowledges possible retail price coordination between fuel retailers occurs in some regions. More>>

ALSO:

Huntly: Genesis Extends Life Of Coal-Fuelled Power Station To 2022

Genesis Energy will keep its two coal and gas-fired units at Huntly Power Station operating until 2022, having previously said they'd be closed by 2018, after wringing a high price from other electricity generators who wanted to keep them as back-up. More>>

ALSO:

Dammed If You Do: Ruataniwha Irrigation Scheme Hits Farmer Uptake Targets

Enough Hawke's Bay farmers have signed up for water from the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme for it to go ahead as long as a cornerstone institutional capital investor can be found to back it, its regional council promoter announced. More>>

ALSO:

Reserve Bank: OCR Stays At 2.25%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2.25 percent, in a decision traders had said could go either way, while predicting inflation will pick up as the slump in oil prices washes out of the data and capacity pressures start to build in the economy. More>>

ALSO:

Export Values Down: NZ Posts Biggest Annual Trade Deficit In 7 Years

New Zealand has recorded its biggest annual trade deficit since April 2009, reflecting weaker prices of agricultural commodities such as dairy products, beef and lamb, and increased imports of vehicles and machinery. More>>

ALSO:

Currency Events: NZ's New $5 Note Wins International Banknote Award

New Zealand’s new Brighter Money $5 note has been named Banknote of the Year in a prestigious international competition. The $5 note was awarded the IBNS Banknote of the Year title at the International Bank Note Society’s annual meeting. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news