ANZ economist Steve Edwards says the gross domestic product figures for the three months to September could be negative following weak regional economic activity.
The bank's latest regional trends report shows nationwide economic activity rose 0.1% during the past quarter.
But it says the Canterbury rebuild underpinned that result and it may have prevented the economy from contracting in the three months to September.
Mr Edwards says that without Canterbury's contribution, nationwide economic activity contracted 0.1%.
On Monday, Westpac senior economist Michael Gordon separately noted that prices look to be picking up in the construction sector as more work gets underway in Canterbury's quake zones.