25 Dec 2011

Hard times ahead - economist

10:33 am on 25 December 2011

The Rugby World Cup provided a shot of energy for the economy, but an economist in Singapore is warning that a hangover is about to begin.

Official figures show gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 0.8% in the three months to September, driven by a rise in the manufacturing sector, as well as retail, accommodation and restaurant sectors.

It was the fastest rate of growth in almost two years, though some previous quarters were revised downwards, knocking nearly 1% of GDP.

Annette Beacher, the head of Asia Pacific Research for TD Securities in Singapore, says the tournament clearly provided the impetus for growth, but the tournament's benefits are fleeting.

She said it appears there's little else to drive the economy until the rebuild of Christchurch.

Ms Beacher said economic activity is likely to struggle to grow, because key sectors like construction remain weak. Agriculture and Government spending have declined.

She also noted a fall in transport and communications. Half of the 10 sectors in GDP fell.

Credit card sales in November slumped by 3%.

''I'm not particularly that constructive on the New Zealand economy,'' she said.

Ms Beacher said she is ''quite concerned'' for New Zealand.

On an annual basis, the economy grew 1.3%.

''(But) underlying strength of the economy is just not there,'' she said.