6 Jun 2017

Construction heat cools in March quarter

3:05 pm on 6 June 2017

The heated construction sector looks to have cooled down in the first quarter of the year, suggesting the overall economy may have started on a weaker note.

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Photo: 123 RF

Official figures show the volume of building work put in place in the three months ended March fell 3.5 percent, compared with a 1.3 percent rise in the previous quarter.

Residential building volumes fell 0.8 percent, but non-residential building volumes dropped 7.2 percent.

ASB Bank has revised down its first quarter economic growth forecast to 0.5 percent, following the building numbers.

Senior economist Jane Turner said the fall was unexpected, but should only be temporary.

"Consents are holding up at relatively robust levels... our biggest concern is that further growth could be constrained by capacity issues in the second half of this year," she said.

Meanwhile other data out today shows wholesale trade continues to rise.

Official figures show wholesale sales climbed 2.1 percent, or $505 million in the March quarter, when compared with late last year.

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