New Zealand's quarterly GDP drops 1.0 pct amid COVID-19

Source: Xinhua| 2021-03-18 08:54:13|Editor: huaxia
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WELLINGTON, March 18 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 1.0 percent in the December 2020 quarter, following a revised 13.9-percent increase in the September 2020 quarter, the country's statistics department Stats NZ said on Thursday.

"The dip in activity in the December quarter follows record growth in the September 2020 quarter," national accounts senior manager Paul Pascoe said.

"The September quarter reflected a bounce back after a slump in the June quarter, due to the COVID-19 national lockdown when many businesses were shut for weeks."

"Activity in the December quarter shows a mixed picture - some industries are down, but others have held up or risen, despite the ongoing impact of COVID."

At the industry level, seven out of 16 industries declined. The two largest contributors to the drop were construction, and retail trade and accommodation. Both industries saw strong September 2020 quarter results.

On the other hand, parts of the retail trade and accommodation industry continue to be affected by the absence of international tourism.

"Businesses ranging from hotels and motels, to restaurants, cafes and bars faced much lower activity in calendar year 2020 than in 2019, with far fewer international tourists in the country because of border restrictions," Pascoe said.

The two largest positive contributors in the quarter were transport, postal and warehousing, and business services. However, both industries are still operating below pre-COVID levels and are weaker over the calendar year 2020 compared to 2019. Transport services, in particular, have been impacted by the lack of international travel.

The December 2020 quarter results capture the beginning of what is traditionally the international tourism season, which has tended to peak during the summer months.

Tourism in New Zealand comprises an important sector of the national economy, which directly contributed about 6 percent of the country's GDP prior to COVID-19.

China has been New Zealand's second-largest international visitor market since 2012 and one of the most valuable in terms of holiday visitor spend, according to New Zealand's national tourism organisation Tourism New Zealand. Enditem