19 Dec 2016

Strong economic growth predicted

10:37 am on 19 December 2016

Economic figures released this week are expected to show New Zealand in fine form in the September quarter.

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The market is predicting 0.9 percent GDP growth over the three months to September. Photo: 123RF

The market is picking around 0.9 percent economic growth, with an annual rate of 3.7 percent, in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures out on Thursday.

The current account deficit is expected to narrow as well.

Chief forecaster at economic consultancy Infometrics Gareth Kiernan is expecting 1.1 percent growth in the quarter - slightly higher than the consensus - and believes it will be broad based.

Tourism had been strong all year, reflected in the accommodation, food and other services area. "But beyond the tourism and construction which is still growing, but probably not quite as fast as it has been over the previous few quarters, we've got agriculture, which is still a bit patchy but ... fishing and horticulture [are] going strongly, forestry has been looking good."

Transport and manufacturing were picking up but the dairy price recovery over the past three months were having little imapact.

Mr Kiernan said growth on a per capita basis looked healthy, despite migration gains.

"With population growth running at 2.1 percent at the moment, if we've got economic growth in the 3 to 3.5 [percent] range, it's okay on a per capita basis," he said.

"If you look back earlier this year, we had GDP growth down at 2.4, 2.5 percent so there was almost no per capita growth."

Mr Kiernan said the Reserve Bank could comfortably sit on the sidelines and hold interest rates at record lows.