The level of traffic on the country's roads is pointing to economic growth of about 1 per cent in the March quarter, keeping up the pace seen at the end of last year, according to a bank report.
The ANZ Bank Truckometer shows heavy traffic fell 1.1 per cent in March, after a strong rise in February. Overall in the March quarter heavy traffic was up 2 per cent, in line with quarterly economic growth of about 1 per cent.
Heavy traffic, mainly trucks weighing more than 3.5 tonnes, tends to move in line with overall economic growth.
Light traffic levels, cars and vans, tend to give a six-month lead on economic growth.
Light traffic rose 1.1 per cent in March, and the index was up 0.5 per cent in the March quarter. Given the lead from light traffic, that suggested September-quarter growth would be a little slower than the June quarter.
But ANZ said in the big picture, the upward trend was still "firmly in place" and growth would carry on through the middle of the year.
The Truckometer index gave no sign of the economic expansion "running out of steam any time soon", ANZ said. The traffic figures back up strong business and consumer confidence surveys.
The economy grew 0.9 per cent in the December quarter.
But ANZ pointed out that it was facing headwinds that were starting to blow harder.
The Reserve Bank was raising interest rates and the exchange rate remained at "eye-watering levels".
- Fairfax Media