West Coast and Northland lead economic growth

JAMES WEIR
Last updated 14:04 25/02/2014

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All but one region posted a lift in economic activity in the last three months of 2013, with Auckland falling backwards by the barest of margins, an ANZ Bank report shows.

The economy is getting a boost with higher business and consumer confidence, a better job market and a lift in consumer spending.

And economic growth has been speeding up across most regions, especially around the main cities, in the past year.

In the December quarter though, the West Coast and Northland shared top spot in the quarterly growth stakes, increasing 2.4 per cent.

Canterbury was not far behind on 2.1 per cent in the three months, with Waikato on 2 per cent.

Auckland was the only region to fall, but it was down just 0.1 per cent, after four quarters of strong expansion.

Wellington was sluggish with regional growth of 0.2 per cent in the December quarter.

Northland's quarterly increase was the fifth for the region and followed a similar rise in the September quarter. The West Coast expanded in three of the four quarters in 2013, the first time the region improved that much since 2008.

The Reserve Bank's speed limits on low-deposit home loans, brought in from October, had slowed down the residential real estate market, but higher commodity prices were lifting farm sales, ANZ said.

For the calendar year, Canterbury and Auckland were the standout growth leaders, with the quake rebuild helping boost Canterbury to year-on-year growth of 5.6 per cent. Auckland's region expanded 4.8 per cent, while Wellington came in third at 4.6 per cent.

As a group, the three most urbanised regions recorded growth of 4.9 per cent in 2013. The other 11 regions, which are more rural-based, averaged growth of 3.6 per cent.

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- Fairfax Media

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