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NZ GDP up 0.8 pct in March quarter

NZPA

Thursday 14th July 2011

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New Zealand's economy confounded the experts in the March quarter, with data from Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) showing gross domestic product grew at 0.8 percent in the three month period.

The median forecast from economists had been for growth of 0.4 percent.

For the year GDP was up 1.5 percent, compared to the 1.2 percent forecast.

The figures, released at 10.45am, sent the already soaring New Zealand dollar to new heights around US84.90c, a whole cent higher than the previous post-float record reached only a few hours earlier.

SNZ national accounts manager Rachael Milicich said the strong growth in the latest quarter despite the February 22 earthquake in Christchurch was mainly due to manufacturing.

"While some businesses in Christchurch were adversely affected, the vast majority were able to continue operating, and the earthquake resulted in some activity that would not normally have taken place."

Manufacturing activity rose 3.6 percent in the March quarter, with large increases in machinery, metal product, and food and beverage manufacturing.

Real estate and business services were up 1 percent in the quarter due to rises in business services, but construction activity was down 4.3 percent.



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