Auckland and Chch economies steam ahead

JAMES WEIR
Last updated 14:40 19/08/2014

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Auckland and Canterbury are steaming ahead, but many other regional economies started to feel the chill of winter in the June quarter.

The ANZ Regional Trends report shows five regions showed a lift in economic activity in the June quarter, while nine regions went backwards.

The moves up and down in different regions offset each other, leaving the national measure of economic activity unchanged in the June quarter.

Official figures showed economic growth of 1 per cent in the March quarter, continuing a strong run since late last year.

Statistics New Zealand figures for the June quarter are due out late in September.

In today's ANZ Regional Trends report, Auckland showed the biggest leap ahead, with activity up 1 per cent in the June quarter.

Canterbury was close behind with a gain of 0.9 per cent.

Both Auckland and Canterbury reported stronger retail sales, with high consumer confidence and building plans in Auckland. Business confidence was robust in Canterbury, ANZ said, and the region was also seeing a better job market and rising house sales volumes.

Gisborne, Manawatu-Whanganui and Southland were also positive.

The worst performing region was Northland, down 1.6 per cent, with Waikato almost as bad, dropping 1.5 per cent.

Wellington was about the middle of the pack, down 1 per cent in the quarter.

The mixed bag of results among the regions followed a period when the Reserve Bank started lifting official interest rates.

The New Zealand dollar was also extremely high.

But at the same time commodity prices were falling, with dairy product prices down about 40 per cent from their peaks this year.

The unemployment rate also improved nationally, down to 5.6 per cent for the June quarter.

For the year the ANZ report showed economic activity up 4.2 per cent.

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