Canterbury growth loses a little pace

CECILE MEIER
Last updated 09:19 21/05/2014

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Canterbury's economic activity keeps growing strongly, but is not the fastest growing in the country anymore.

ANZ Regional Trends for the March quarter shows Canterbury's economic growth dropped to 4.9 per cent for the year to March 2014 compared to last quarter's 5.6 per cent for the year to December 2013, but still well ahead of the 4.2 per cent nationwide growth for the same period.

While Canterbury's economy was leading the country last quarter, it came second in the March quarter after Northland, which enjoyed a 7.4 per cent year on year growth.

ANZ economist Steve Edwards said the pace of Canterbury's growth had eased to its lowest rate of increase in two years.

Previous rates had been "unsustainably high", he said.

However, construction work in Canterbury was not finished so the region could expect more growth.

The second highest level of consumer confidence was measured in Canterbury, which is a nine- year high for the region. New car registrations also hit a nine-year high.

The report said Canterbury's rebuild activity was filtering out across the wider service sector including tourism, retail and hospitality.

Canterbury recorded the lowest unemployment rate across the regions - 3.2 per cent in the December quarter - for the fourth successive quarter, with the region hitting a six-year low. Skills shortages remain.

House prices hit a new record high last month, to be 12 per cent up on a year earlier.

Rents have also risen 12 per cent in the past year, twice the nationwide increase of 6 per cent.

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- The Press

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