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Stats NZ again delays key GDP figures

Thursday 7th July 2011

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Statistics New Zealand has postponed today's already-delayed release of first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) figures for another week and says it needs more time to analyse the data. 
 The GDP data was initially scheduled for June 23 but was postponed -- initially for two weeks -- in April because the February 22 Christchurch aftershock caused major disruption to data collection in Canterbury.

Yesterday Statistics NZ said that quality assurance work for the March quarter data had taken longer than expected and the data would now be released on July 14.

"We have now decided that another week is required to ensure the quality of the results," deputy government statistician Colin Lynch said.

"We needed this extra time to ensure that our methods for measuring GDP adequately accounted for the Canterbury earthquakes, and to get supplementary data for the March quarter release" .

In April Government statistician Geoff Bascand said no collated information had been lost but there would be constraints on how data collection could progress.

Statistics NZ has been analysing how the earthquake affected processes for measuring GDP and has warned that the impact of the earthquake will not be able to be isolated easily in the GDP statistics.

According to Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens, economists and other analysts who saw indications in this week's quarterly survey of business opinion (QSBO) that the economy had been gaining momentum since the start of this year, were looking to the GDP data before they reviewed forecasts for the second quarter.

Some analysts expect the GDP figures to show economic growth of more than 0.4 percent, despite the regional disruptions caused by the aftershocks.

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