20 Mar 2014

Manufacturing leads economic growth

7:17 pm on 20 March 2014

The economy grew by 0.9 percent in the three months to December compared with the previous quarter, latest figures show.

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Statistics New Zealand said the main contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth came from manufacturing and wholesale trade. GDP growth in the previous quarter was a revised 1.2 percent.

Manufacturing rose 2.1 percent in the three months to December 2013, led by increased activity in food, beverage and tobacco production. Activity in this sector was at its highest level since early 2006.

That offset declines in dairy farming and dairy product manufacturing following strong increases in the September quarter, when production rebounded from drought earlier in 2013. Nevertheless, a surge in dairy sales overseas boosted exports.

Exports and higher household spending, led by purchases of durable goods like furniture and whiteware, boosted the expenditure measure of GDP by 0.6 percent.

Investment also rose, driven by plant and machinery, which was at its highest level since the series began.

Westpac economist Michael Gordon said growth was broad-based and showed the upturn in the economy was becoming well-established.

On an annual basis, the economy grew 2.7 percent. When comparing activity in the December quarter with the same period a year earlier, the economy grew 3.1 percent.