Monthly economic indicator

Monthly Economic Indicators May 2018

Monthly Economic Indicators is a regular report prepared by the Forecasting team of the Treasury.


Executive Summary#

  • The Government’s Budget and the Treasury’s forecasts, released in May, largely met market expectations
  • Consumption growth appears to have eased in the March quarter
  • The unemployment rate fell to 4.4% in the March quarter, and wage measures were mixed
  • The risks are skewed to moderately weaker international growth in 2018 than assumed in BEFU 2018

The Budget and Treasury’s forecasts were largely in line with market expectations. Our forecasts show real GDP growth averages around 3.0%, broadly similar to HYEFU 2017. However increased government spending and higher net migration provide more support for growth in later years.

Since our forecasts were finalised, our tracking of March quarter data including retail sales volumes, suggest March quarter real GDP growth may fall short of the 0.7% Budget Economic and Fiscal Update (BEFU) 2018 forecast. March quarter GDP is scheduled for release on 21 June.

June quarter activity indicators have been a little more positive, with April milk production at record levels and April export values posting a solid gain on the back of higher volumes. On the other hand, domestic petrol prices rose to records highs in some regions in May as international oil markets reacted to tighter supply, reducing household’s discretionary expenditure.

In the labour market, employment continued to grow at a solid pace in the March quarter and the unemployment rate fell to 4.4%, down from 4.9% at the March quarter last year. Despite the decline in the unemployment rate over the past year, wage inflation has yet to show a convincing pick up. Subdued wage pressures are contributing to low inflation and expectations that the Reserve Bank will keep the Official Cash Rate at 1.75% for some time to come.

International developments lead us to believe that the risks are skewed to moderately weaker global growth in 2018 than in BEFU 2018. Growth in Japan, the Eurozone, and the UK slowed down in the first quarter this year. Political instability in Italy is likely to slow growth in the euro area further. The outlook for China and the US remains relatively positive


In the March quarter, employment continued to grow at a solid pace and the unemployment rate continued to fall.  However, wage growth remained subdued and other indicators of activity, including agricultural production and retail sales, suggest that the pace of growth in the March quarter may be weaker than forecast in the Treasury’s recent BEFU. Nonetheless, we continue to expect growth to pick up over 2018 as the impact of adverse weather conditions on agriculture recede and the Government’s Families Package boosts household incomes.  

Budget ‘as expected’#

The Government’s Budget and the Treasury’s forecasts were released on the 17 May and were largely in line with market expectations. The forecasts, which are above market consensus, show the Government reaching its target of reducing net debt to 20% of GDP by 2022. Our real GDP growth forecast remains broadly similar to HYEFU 2017, averaging around 3.0% per year(Figure 1). However, the peak in growth is delayed due to recent volatile weather conditions, while higher government spending and upward revisions to our net migration forecast provides additional support for growth in later years of the forecasts.

Figure 1: Real GDP forecast

Figure 1: Real GDP forecast

Source: The Treasury, Stats NZ

For more information on the Budget, please refer to the Treasury’s website.

Weaker March quarter than forecast#

Overall, much of the data released since our BEFU 2018 forecasts were finalised in early April, has tended to be weaker than expected. March quarter retail trade and hours paid came in below expectations and milk production remained weak over the quarter, as did slaughter data. March quarter trade data also came in lower than we expected. These outturns pose downside risk to our March quarter GDP forecast of 0.7%.

April outturns so far have been more positive including stronger dairy production and Fonterra’s announcement of an increase in their Farmgate milk price. Exports for April also picked up, although the wider spread of Mycoplasma bovis tempers this optimism somewhat. These results, together with fiscal stimulus starting from 1 July are likely to boost GDP in the June quarter.

Employment growth increased…#

According to the Household Labour Force Survey, the number of people in employment rose by 0.6% (15,000) in the March 2018 quarter. Full-time employment rose by 0.6% while part-time employment rose by 0.5%. Annual employment growth was 3.1% (79,000), down from 3.7% in December.

The working age population increased by 0.6% (23,000), boosted by high migration. Meanwhile the labour force expanded by 0.5% (13,000) in the quarter as the participation rate fell to 70.8% from 70.9% in December.

In the Quarterly Employment Survey total hours paid each week increased by a modest 0.1% in the quarter (2.0% higher than a year ago). This modest growth suggests that GDP growth may be weaker than expected at BEFU 2018.

…leading to a fall in unemployment and underutilisation#

The number of unemployed fell by 2.5% (3,000 people) to 119,000 taking the unemployment rate from 4.5% to 4.4% in the March quarter. This was slightly below the BEFU forecast of 4.5%. The unemployment rate has now fallen for five consecutive quarters and has been trending lower since 2012 (Figure 2).

The number of underemployed, those working part-time who want to work more hours and are available also fell. Combined with the fall in unemployment, the underutilisation rate fell to 11.9%, from 12.2% in December, but is little changed from a year ago.

The unemployment rate is a little lower than forecast and we expect it to remain steady over the year ahead. With population growth expected to ease next year, owing to slowing migration, growth in the labour force is expected to lag growth in demand for labour, causing further falls in the unemployment rate through late-2019 and beyond.

Figure 2: Unemployment and underutilisation rates (seasonally adjusted)

Figure 2: Unemployment and underutilisation rates (seasonally adjusted)

Source: Stats NZ

Wage growth measures mixed#

QES ordinary time hourly earnings increased 0.9% in the March quarter, taking annual growth to 3.5% from 3.1% in December. Combining hourly earnings with hours paid, total weekly gross earnings rose 5.6% in the year, consistent with our PAYE tax forecasts.

Quarterly growth in the total Labour Cost Index (LCI) rose a subdued 0.3%, taking annual growth to 1.8%, unchanged from December. The increase in the minimum wage from 1 April is expected to add support for wage growth in the June quarter.

Net migration continues to fall…#

Annual net PLT migration fell to 67,000 in April from 68,000 in March, driven by a larger number of non-New Zealand citizens leaving. Annual net migration peaked in July 2017 at 72,400 and further declines are expected (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Annual net PLT migration by citizenship

Figure 3: Annual net PLT migration by citizenship

Source: Stats NZ

Last month’s special topic provided more detail on recent migration flows.

…and house prices were flat…#

The REINZ house price index remained flat (down 0.1% sa) in April, following a 0.4% (sa) rise in March. On an annual basis, the index increased 3.8%. The index for Auckland dipped 0.3% for April. Excluding Auckland, the index was flat. Sales volumes rose 1.6% over the month (2.3% annually). This outturn is consistent with our expectation of house price growth moderating over the year as the effect of the Government’s demand-restraining policies (extending the bright-line test, hurdles for foreign buyers and other potential tax measures) begin to slow house price growth.

Building consents eased…#

New dwelling consents fell 3.7% to 2,882 (sa) in April, following a 13.0% (sa) increase in March. Housing consents dropped by 1.4% to 1,737 (sa). The number of new dwelling consents for Auckland rose 14.3% (sa) in April, and most of this growth came from multi-unit dwellings. The number of new dwelling consents for the year to April was 5.0% higher than the previous year. Despite the fall this month, dwelling consents are still strong, posing some upside risk to our forecast for flat residential investment growth through the middle of 2018.

…as business and consumer confidence falls#

Both headline business confidence and firms’ views of their own activity eased 4 points in May, according to ANZ’s Business Outlook Survey, continuing the slump that began in October 2017. Although the slump in business confidence doesn’t seem to have materially impacted investment or employment to date, it does raise the risk of slower growth in coming quarters. 

Consumer confidence dipped 7.5 points to 120.5 in April according to the ANZ Consumer Confidence Survey. The index fell over the last quarter of 2017, possibly because of uncertainty surrounding the election, before rebounding in January. Confidence continued to improve until last month. The cause of the dip in April is unclear. The index still sits slightly above its long-run average.

The official cash rate remained unchanged#

The RBNZ left the OCR unchanged at 1.75%, as expected. Compared to the previous Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) in February, forecasts for annual CPI inflation were reduced by 0.2% points to 1.6% in the 2018 calendar year. This is roughly in line with our inflation forecasts. Some analysts noted that the Bank was slightly more dovish, with the Statement mentioning, “the direction of our next move is equally balanced”. The MPS also noted that “employment appears to be around its maximum sustainable level”.

Prices rose modestly…#

The capital goods price index rose 0.3% in the March quarter, driven by land improvements, up 2.1%. Residential and non-residential construction prices also rose, up 0.5% and 0.8% respectively.

Producer input prices rose 0.6% in the March quarter while output prices rose 0.2%. Both were below December quarter outturns of 0.9% and 1.0% respectively. Part of the rise in input prices can be attributed to rises in crude oil prices. Input prices for petroleum and coal product manufacturers rose 7.2%. Further rises in oil prices in the June quarter pose some upside risk to our inflation forecasts.

The trade deficit widened…#

The goods trade balance for April improved from a deficit of $705 million (sa) in March to a deficit of $428 million (sa) in April. Export values rose 7.2% in April, following a 3.2% fall in March, and imports rose 0.8%.

Figure 4: Merchandise trade balance

Figure 4: Merchandise trade balance

Source: Stats NZ

The rise in exports was driven by higher volumes of fruit, particularly Kiwifruit, as well as meat and dairy. These categories were also supported by higher prices.

Imports remained high as stocks of petroleum products increased in advance of the planned closure of the Marsden Point oil refinery in May.

The annual overseas merchandise trade deficit widened from $3.5 billion in March to $3.8 billion in April, close to its troughs in 2016 and 2017.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index rose 1.0% in April. This is the fourth consecutive monthly rise in the index, lifting annual growth to 7.1%. Aluminium prices rose 8.0% in the month, driven by US sanctions on Russia and China’s clampdown on excess production. Dairy prices rose (up 2.7%) as did forestry (up 0.2%). Meat and fibre complex (down 1.9%) and horticultural product prices (down 0.1%), provided an offset.

The average Global Dairy Trade price increased by 1.9% in the latest dairy auction with butter, cheddar, anhydrous milk fat and milk powder driving the increase. Fonterra also increased its 2017/18 forecast Farmgate Milk Price by 20 cents to $6.75 per kg/MS. These revisions were largely offset by a 15-20 cent downgrade to its dividend forecast. Next season’s forecast opened at $7.00, on the back of higher global demand and lower supply.

Along with high commodity prices in other areas, the solid results for dairy prices are expected to support the terms of trade. However, high oil prices will provide some offset.

The Government’s decision to attempt eradication of Mycoplasma bovis will result in the culling of approximately 150,000 cattle. The exact impact on dairy and meat are unknown at this stage. However, this decision is likely to result in a temporary decrease in dairy export volumes and an increase in meat volumes. The macroeconomic impact is likely to be relatively small although the impact on individual producers or regions will be larger.

…and consumer activity eased#

Total retail sales volumes rose just 0.1% (sa) in the March quarter, the weakest growth since the June 2015 quarter. This follows a 1.4% increase in the December quarter. Core retail sales volumes (total volumes excluding fuel and vehicle sales) rose 0.6% in the quarter. Within the core industries, electrical and electronic goods rose 5.4% (sa) while clothing, footwear and accessories fell by 5.0% (sa). Fuel and vehicle sales volumes dropped 2.1% and 0.9% respectively. The latter was disrupted by delayed car import shipments following the discovery of brown marmorated and yellow spotted stink bugs on shipments from Japan. Total retail sales volumes were up by 3.0% from the previous year.

Retail sales values rose 0.2% (sa) in the March quarter. The rise in retail sales values was led by rising fuel prices (up 3.4% sa), while a fall in clothing, footwear and accessories prices (down 5.1% sa) provided a partial offset. Core retail sales values, which excludes the more volatile vehicle and fuel categories, rose 0.1% (sa).

While some slowdown in retail sales volumes and values was expected, following strong growth last quarter, the March quarter outturn was weaker than anticipated.

These results are consistent with our view that private consumption growth will ease, but the weak retail trade outturn does pose some downside risk to our BEFU real private consumption forecast of 0.8% for the March quarter. As GST tax revenue is yet to reflect this weakness, this outturn raises the risk of GST revenue slowing over the June quarter.

Figure 5: Retail sales and private consumption volumes

Figure 5: Retail sales and private consumption volumes

Source: Stats NZ

Slow start for global growth in 2018#

The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook forecast global growth of 3.9% this year and next (Table 1). The BEFU 2018 was in line with the IMF’s views.

Table 1: IMF forecasts growth to remain strong

  2017 2018 2019
World Output 3.8 3.9 3.9
    Advance Economies 2.3 2.5 2.2
        United States 2.3 2.9 2.7
        Japan 1.7 1.2 0.9
        Euro Area 2.3 2.4 2.0
        United Kingdom 1.7 1.6 1.5
        Australia 2.3 3.0 3.1
Emerging Market and Developing Economies 4.8 4.9 5.1
    Emerging and Developing Asia 6.5 6.5 6.6
        China 6.9 6.6 6.4
        India 6.7 7.4 7.8
        ASEAN-5* 5.3 5.3 5.4

*Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philipines, Viet Nam

Source: IMF

Several developments have taken place since finalising BEFU 2018 and the IMF World Economic Outlook, which make us believe the risks are skewed to moderately weaker growth in 2018 than forecast. Slower international growth adversely affects New Zealand’s exports. First quarter data show slower growth for the Eurozone, the UK, Japan, and some developing countries. Activity data for the first quarter and the outlook for the rest of 2018 remain relatively favourable for the US and China.

The outlook for the US and China remains favourable#

China’s economy grew 6.8% in the March 2018 year. Growth is supported by strong land sales, property investment and domestic consumption. Rising consumption contributed 5.3% points of the growth- significantly higher relative to its share in overall GDP. Consumption was supported by solid per-capita income growth and wealth effects from rising property prices.

The US economy grew at an annual rate of 2.8% in the March quarter, exceeding market expectations of 2.7%. Analysts expect growth to accelerate starting from the second quarter of 2018 as the tax package introduced in January starts to affect households’ take-home pay. The IMF assumes that by 2020, tax policy changes will raise US real GDP by 1.2%. US flash Composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) remained elevated in May. Services jumped to 55.7 from 54.6, signalling stronger growth, while the manufacturing PMI remained relatively unchanged.

Signs of slowdown in the Eurozone#

Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, the Eurozone economy expanded 2.5%, below 2.8% in the previous period. The Eurozone flash composite PMI fell in May to 54.1 from 55.2 a month earlier, below consensus, and continuing the decline since January. Both services and manufacturing PMIs fell. The weakness was mostly driven by France and Germany. The PMI tends to correlate with output (Figure 6), which suggests lower growth for the second quarter of 2018.

Figure 6: Eurozone PMI and GDP

Figure 6: Eurozone PMI and GDP

Source: IHS Markit/Eurostat

…growing uncertainty around Italy’s new government might also affect Eurozone growth#

Political uncertainty in Italy widened bond spreads: the yield curve shifted considerably (Figure 7). As the future remains uncertain, borrowers are demanding higher interest rates for bonds with longer maturity in the form of a risk premium. The increase in the cost of credit might exert downward pressure on output.

Figure 7: Yield curve for Italy

Figure 7: Yield curve for Italy

Source: Haver

Another source of risk for the Eurozone came from Spain where the Prime Minister is to face a vote of confidence in his leadership on Friday, 30 May. The vote comes as 29 people linked to the Prime Minister’s party were convicted of crimes including influence-peddling and falsifying accounts.

A contraction in Japan#

Annual GDP in Japan grew 0.9% compared with 1.8% a quarter earlier. On quarterly basis, the economy contracted by 0.2%, lower than market expectations of -0.05%. The fall in GDP was driven by declines in investment, consumption, and weaker export growth. Analysts believe the contraction is transitory.

Slowest growth in the UK since mid-2012#

The UK recorded annual growth of 1.2% for the March quarter 2018. The outturn was in line with market expectations but below the 1.4% of the December quarter of 2017. The latest outturn is the weakest pace of expansion since the second quarter of 2012 with construction being the largest downward pull on GDP, falling by 3.3% compared to the previous quarter. Uncertainty around Brexit remains a large factor in curbing investment, which fell 2.3% over the first three months of 2018.

Several emerging markets are also struggling#

The Turkish lira declined 8.0% this week to be down 18% since early March as President Erdogan stated he would like to take more control of monetary policy. CPI inflation is already in double digits. Argentina has requested IMF funds to defend its currency, down 30% against the USD this year. The Brazilian real is down 12% in 3 months versus the USD. External vulnerabilities are elevated in Malaysia, India and Indonesia, according to ratings agency Moody’s external vulnerability index.

Volatile international oil prices#

In New Zealand, petrol prices reached $2.30 a litre for 91 octane fuel this month, up from around $2.00 in December 2017. The increase is a direct impact of rising oil prices since mid-2017 (Figure 8). In additions, the weaker New Zealand dollar translates into more expensive domestic petrol prices as oil is traded in US dollars.

Figure 8: Oil prices in US dollars and the exchange rate

Figure 8: Oil prices in US dollars and the exchange rate

Source: Haver Analytics

Several factors contributed to the hike in oil prices over the past month, including the US withdrawal from the UN-approved nuclear deal with Iran. The US administration reinstated the sanctions imposed on Iran before the deal was signed in 2015. Iran had recently increased its oil production to pre-sanctions levels, nearing 5.0% of global production. In the short-run, the hike in oil prices was also fuelled by Israeli targeting of Iranian military bases in Syria a day after the US announcement on Iran deal.

Oil prices fell in late May to their levels in late April on reports that OPEC and Russia are considering lifting production by as much as one million barrels a day to meet the shortfall in supply. Futures market prices decline to around US $60 per barrel later this year, which is the level seen in late 2017.

Assuming international oil prices remain unchanged, domestic petrol prices are likely to increase starting from July 2018 due to the introduction of the Regional Petrol Tax in Auckland. A proposed increase in national petrol tax in September would also push prices higher. Higher petrol prices are inflationary through two channels. First, directly, as petrol and other fuels constitutes 4.3% of the CPI. Second, indirectly, as petrol is an input into a number of economic activities.

Trade tensions ease between the US and China but escalate between the US and the EU#

European leaders met in Sofia and trade issues were on the table. Several European leaders stated they are prepared to negotiate on trade with the US and discuss WTO reform, but there must be no threat of tariffs.

The High Representative of the European Union reiterated the EU’s commitment to the Iran nuclear deal. Some European companies might be indirectly affected by the imposition of sanctions on Iran as the US can sanction non-US businesses for doing business with the country. The final impact remains unclear because of possible exemptions that are being currently negotiated by several countries and companies.

After a round of talks between China and the US, China agreed to “significantly” increase energy and agricultural imports from the US. However, the US later in the month decided to move ahead with imposing tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports. It is not clear what goods will be targeted by the new tariffs. Trade concerns are still lingering in the background with President Trump indicating that he was not pleased with the results of the recent round of talks, saying only that “they are a start”.

Declining unemployment is a common theme but inflation remains low#

The US unemployment rate fell to 3.9% in April, the lowest since December 2000. The decline came largely from a fall in the participation rate. The fall in unemployment over the past couple of years is a common theme among most of the developed countries (Figure 9). In the past, unemployment around these levels would have generated significant inflationary wage pressures. However, inflation remains subdued in most developed countries.

Figure 9: Unemployment rates for different countries

Figure 9: Unemployment rates for different countries

Source: Haver, Statistics New Zealand

New Zealand Key Economic Data#

24 April 2018

Quarterly Indicators#

Quarterly Indicators
    2016Q3 2016Q4 2017Q1 2017Q2 2017Q3 2017Q4 2018Q1

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Real production GDP qtr % chg[1] 0.7 0.4 0.7 0.9 0.6 0.6 ...
  ann ave % chg 3.9 4.0 3.7 3.4 3.0 2.9 ...
Real private consumption qtr % chg[1] 1.5 0.9 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.2 ...
  ann ave % chg 4.9 5.0 5.4 5.2 4.7 4.5 ...
Real public consumption qtr % chg[1] 1.0 1.2 1.0 1.3 2.5 -0.1 ...
  ann ave % chg 1.3 1.7 2.0 3.2 4.2 4.7 ...
Real residential investment qtr % chg[1] -0.5 0.3 -1.6 -0.5 3.0 0.5 ...
  ann ave % chg 11.7 11.8 9.5 5.0 2.5 0.6 ...
Real non-residential investment qtr % chg[1] 1.2 0.7 0.8 1.1 0.9 3.8 ...
  ann ave % chg 2.9 4.1 3.9 3.8 4.1 4.5 ...
Export volumes qtr % chg[1] -0.9 -2.2 0.2 5.1 0.8 0.0 ...
  ann ave % chg 3.0 1.6 0.7 0.0 0.6 2.5 ...
Import volumes qtr % chg[1] 1.9 1.3 1.2 0.6 2.5 3.9 ...
  ann ave % chg 1.8 3.4 5.1 6.0 6.1 6.6 ...
Nominal GDP - expenditure basis ann ave % chg 5.2 6.0 6.1 6.4 6.9 6.5 ...
Real GDP per capita ann ave % chg 1.8 1.8 1.6 1.2 0.8 0.7 ...
Real Gross National Disposable Income ann ave % chg 4.4 5.3 4.8 4.5 4.4 3.5 ...

External Trade

Current account balance (annual) NZ$ millions -6,577 -5,985 -7,156 -7,145 -7,013 -7,722 ...
  % of GDP -2.5 -2.2 -2.6 -2.6 -2.5 -2.7 ...
Investment income balance (annual) NZ$ millions -7,611 -7,133 -7,700 -7,952 -8,471 -9,399 ...
Merchandise terms of trade qtr % chg -1.2 5.8 3.9 1.1 1.3 0.8 ...
  ann % chg -1.2 6.7 6.5 9.7 12.6 7.3 ...


CPI inflation qtr % chg 0.3 0.4 1.0 0.0 0.5 0.1 0.5
  ann % chg 0.4 1.3 2.2 1.7 1.9 1.6 1.1
Tradable inflation ann % chg -2.1 -0.1 1.6 0.9 1.0 0.5 -0.4
Non-tradable inflation ann % chg 2.4 2.4 2.5 2.4 2.6 2.5 2.3
GDP deflator ann % chg 1.4 4.1 3.8 3.0 3.8 2.9 ...
Consumption deflator ann % chg 0.1 0.7 1.6 1.2 1.5 1.4 ...

Labour Market

Employment (HLFS) qtr % chg[1] 1.1 0.9 1.1 -0.1 2.2 0.4 0.6
  ann % chg[1] 6.1 5.8 5.7 3.1 4.2 3.7 3.1
Unemployment rate %[1] 4.9 5.3 4.9 4.8 4.6 4.5 4.4
Participation rate %[1] 70.1 70.5 70.6 70.1 71.1 70.9 70.8
LCI salary & wage rates - total (adjusted)[5] qtr % chg 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.6 0.4 0.3
  ann % chg 1.7 1.6 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.8 1.8
QES average hourly earnings - total[5] qtr % chg 0.5 -0.1 0.5 0.6 1.2 0.8 0.9
  ann % chg 1.7 1.3 1.5 1.6 2.2 3.1 3.5
Labour productivity[6] ann ave % chg -0.3 -1.3 -2.7 -1.6 -1.5 -0.6 ...

Retail Sales

Core retail sales volume qtr % chg[1] 0.4 1.4 1.4 1.9 0.5 1.8 0.6
  ann % chg 5.3 4.9 4.9 5.2 5.2 5.6 4.8
Total retail sales volume qtr % chg[1] 1.0 1.4 1.5 1.8 0.3 1.4 0.1
  ann % chg 5.3 4.8 5.4 5.8 4.6 5.4 3

Confidence Indicators/Surveys

WMM - consumer confidence[3] Index 108 113 112 113 112 107 111
QSBO - general business situation[4] net % 25.7 28.3 17.1 17.8 5.2 -11.8 -10.7
QSBO - own activity outlook[4] net % 39.2 27.0 20.6 18.4 35.2 18.7 10.9

Monthly Indicators#

Monthly Indicators
    2017M10 2017M11 2017M12 2018M01 2018M02 2018M03 2018M04

External Sector

Merchandise trade - exports mth % chg[1] 4.5 -0.6 15.5 -16.3 2.4 -3.2 7.2
  ann % chg[1] 16.1 19.1 24.7 8.6 10.6 4.5 7.3
Merchandise trade - imports mth % chg[1] 6.5 4.8 -4.7 0.8 -6.2 7.3 0.9
  ann % chg[1] 14.3 27.0 10.8 18.6 4.9 14.4 15.1
Merchandise trade balance (12 month total) NZ$ million -2967 -3466 -2850 -3286 -3060 -3478 -3762
Visitor arrivals number[1] 315,830 323,780 314,280 314,310 323,630 318,720 314,530
Visitor departures number[1] 319,470 322,360 324,380 314,630 319,380 327,110 321,600


Dwelling consents - residential mth % chg[1] -9.4 9.7 -9.1 0.3 6.3 13.0 -3.7
  ann % chg[1] -1.0 8.6 -1.6 9.4 -0.2 5.3 29.6
House sales - dwellings mth % chg[1] 6.1 8.7 -1.3 4.5 0.4 -3.8 0.2
  ann % chg[1] -13.0 -6.1 -6.9 5.5 4.3 -8.1 6.6
REINZ - house price index mth % chg 0.7 0.7 0.6 0.4 0.5 0.4 -0.1
  ann % chg 3.4 3.5 3.7 3.5 3.9 4.1 3.8

Private Consumption

Electronic card transactions - total retail mth % chg[1] 0.5 1.2 0.5 1.4 -0.6 1.5 -2.2
  ann % chg 1.3 4.3 3.3 3.4 3.3 6.0 0.8
New car registrations mth % chg[1] 3.2 5.0 -8.4 2.9 -8.7 -3.7 -0.4
  ann % chg 7.3 12.1 4.7 6.2 -4.2 -11.9 -9.0


Permanent & long-term arrivals number[1] 10,950 10,860 10,970 11,430 10,200 10,810 10,500
Permanent & long-term departures number[1] 5,300 5,180 5,280 5,220 5,280 5,420 5,570
Net PLT migration (12 month total) number 70,694 70,354 70,016 70,147 68,943 67,984 67,038

Commodity Prices

Brent oil price US$/Barrel 57.51 62.71 64.37 69.08 65.32 66.02 72.11
WTI oil price US$/Barrel 51.60 56.66 57.93 63.66 62.21 62.76 66.26
ANZ NZ commodity price index mth % chg 2.5 1.4 -2.8 -3.0 2.4 2.1 1.2
  ann % chg 13.8 11.9 6.7 4.5 6.4 5.1 5.8
ANZ world commodity price index mth % chg -0.3 -0.9 -1.9 0.7 2.8 1.2 1.0
  ann % chg 10.4 6.0 3.2 4.1 5.0 5.8 7.1

Financial Markets

NZD/USD $[2] 0.7062 0.6888 0.6953 0.7255 0.7312 0.7257 0.7258
NZD/AUD $[2] 0.9060 0.9034 0.9110 0.9123 0.9277 0.9343 0.9432
Trade weighted index (TWI) June 1979 = 100[2] 74.73 73.11 73.48 74.90 75.09 74.72 74.88
Official cash rate (OCR) % 1.75 1.75 1.75 1.75 1.75 1.75 1.75
90 day bank bill rate %[2] 1.94 1.92 1.88 1.88 1.91 1.93 2.01
10 year govt bond rate %[2] 2.97 2.85 2.76 2.88 2.97 2.89 2.83

Confidence Indicators/Surveys

ANZ Bank - business confidence net % -10.6 -39.3 -37.8 ... -19.0 -20.0 -23.4
ANZ Bank - activity outlook net % 22.0 6.5 15.6 ... 20.4 21.8 17.8
ANZ-Roy Morgan - consumer confidence net % 126.3 123.7 121.8 126.9 127.7 128.0 120.5
Performance of Manufacturing Index Index 57.2 57.4 51.0 55.2 53.4 53.1 58.9
Performance of Services Index Index 55.7 56.5 55.9 55.9 55.1 58.6 55.9


qtr % chg
quarterly percent change
mth % chg
monthly percent change
ann % chg
annual percent change
ann ave % chg
annual average percent change


  • [1] Seasonally adjusted
  • [2] Average (11am)
  • [3] Westpac McDermott Miller
  • [4] Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion
  • [5] Ordinary time
  • [6] Production GDP divided by HLFS hours worked

Sources: Statistics New Zealand, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, NZIER, ANZ, Haver, Westpac McDermott Miller, ANZ-Roy Morgan, REINZ, BNZ-Business NZ