29 Jan 2014

Canterbury activity dips slightly but still high

7:12 am on 29 January 2014

Activity in Canterbury dipped slightly after the festive season, but is still at a high.

The ASB Bank's monthly Cantometer measures about 17 different statistics in five indices, including construction, migration and employment.

The index, which was set to zero in June 2010, dipped 0.1 to 1.1, in January.

ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley says despite the dip, the index is still at its second highest level since it was established.

He says the latest dip was driven by a weak outcome in November for the issuance of non-residential building consents, which is an area that is often quite volatile.

Mr Tuffley says the levels of non-residential and residential consents are substantially above the levels they were at prior to the earthquakes.

He says the level of construction in Canterbury is lifting, both in terms of the actual work that has been done and also that which is planned and most types of economic activity have recovered to pre-earthquake levels.

Mr Tuffley says that includes strong house prices, above average house sales, wage growth that has outperformed other areas in New Zealand and strong retail sales growth compared to the rest of the country.