15 Sep 2022

GDP rises 1.7 percent, new figures show

1:05 pm on 15 September 2022
Man paying with NFC in a grocery store.


The economy has rebounded strongly on the back of improved consumer spending and tourism.

Stats NZ data showed gross domestic product (GDP) rose a seasonally adjusted 1.7 percent in the three months ended June, at the top end of expectations, and compared with a 0.2 percent fall in the previous quarter.

"The reopening of borders, easing of both domestic and international travel restrictions, and fewer domestic restrictions under the orange traffic light setting supported growth in industries that had been most affected by the Covid-19 response measures," Stats NZ senior manager Ruvani Ratnayake said.

"Households and international visitors spent more on transport, accommodation, eating out, and sports and recreational activities."

Service industries, which make up about two-thirds of the economy, underpinned overall growth with output rising 2.7 percent on the previous quarter.

However, overall household spending dipped 3.2 percent, driven by lower spending on goods such as used motor vehicles and audio-visual equipment, with a similar fall seen in retail trade activity.

Manufacturing and construction sector activity also contracted.

GDP rose 0.4 percent on the same quarter a year ago, and on an annual average basis eased to 1 percent.

Real disposable income, which measures the real purchasing power of the country, rose 1 percent during the quarter.

ASB senior economist Mark Smith said the rebound in growth showed an underlying momentum in the economy but there would still be challenges ahead.

"Further volatility lies ahead as the NZ economy transitions back towards pre-COVID-19 norms, with how this occurs an added uncertainty," Smith said.

"The NZ economy is unlikely to repeat its Q2 heroics, but underlying base momentum should remain, testament to the underlying resilience of the NZ economy and the support factors in the economy."

However, Kiwibank chief economist Jarrod Kerr said the fall in household spending was a concern, but the overall report would likely have no impact on the Reserve Bank's monetary policy with further rate rises to be expected to combat inflation.

"The RBNZ is not yet done. They've made that unambiguously clear. Though the headline came in weaker than they had forecast, the RBNZ is on an inflation fighting path," Kerr said.

"Between weak confidence and deteriorating firm investment intentions, signs of slowing domestic demand are already emerging."

Kerr expected two more rises of 50 basis points this year, taking the official cash rate to 4 percent.

Stats NZ said New Zealand's growth rate for the second quarter was the best of most comparable economies, with Australia and Japan growing 0.9 percent, the average of OECD countries 0.4 percent, and small contractions in the US and UK economies.