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Westpac Regional Roundup, June 2021

New Zealand’s recovery is expected to strengthen further over the year ahead. Rural regions are currently leading the way, although our larger metropolitan areas are likely to gradually close the performance gap. Regions that rely on foreign visitor arrivals will continue to lag. This is according to Westpac’s latest Regional Roundup, which summarises the economic outlook by region across New Zealand.

Westpac Acting Chief Economist Michael Gordon commented that “A common theme of the recovery will be residential construction activity which we think will run hot over the coming year, with many regions reporting a healthy pipeline of work. Less so for property prices, which after a strong run of record gains across the country are set to cool following changes to the tax treatment of investors.”

“Regions with a large rural backbone should continue to lead the way with commodity prices remaining high in coming months.”

“Metropolitan regions though will close the gap. A hot construction sector is likely to spell better times ahead for manufacturers in Auckland, the Waikato and Canterbury, who are also likely to be buoyed by stronger economic growth in key export markets. That in turn is likely to give the services sector a boost and support employment in these major centres.

“Regions that rely on foreign tourism will continue to lag. Indeed, we expect that they will only start recovering properly once the borders are opened to visitors from countries other than Australia. Given the pace of Covid-19 vaccinations, both at home and abroad, that is likely to be some time off,” said Mr Gordon.

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