New Zealand’s economy entered a recession as its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined by 0.1% in the first quarter. This comes after a revised 0.7% drop in GDP during the fourth quarter of 2022, meeting the technical definition of a recession with two consecutive quarters of contraction.
The recession was primarily caused by actions taken by the country’s central bank to control inflation, resulting in a sharp increase in interest rates. These higher interest rates had a negative impact on the manufacturing sector, affecting production and growth. Additionally, New Zealand faced challenges in its agricultural sector as farm production significantly decreased due to adverse weather conditions, further adding to the economic difficulties faced by the country.
New Zealand’s Economy Hurt by Natural Disasters
- According to Reuters, the New Zealand economy in the first quarter was impacted by natural disasters, including Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland flash floods.
- These events resulted in significant damage amounting to around NZ$14 billion ($8.6 billion) and had several adverse effects on the economy.
- The damage caused by the cyclones led to a reduction in farm production, affecting the agricultural sector.
- Additionally, the tourism industry was also affected, as natural disasters disrupted travel and tourism activities.
- The adverse weather conditions further resulted in disruptions to education services.
Jason Attewell, the economic and environmental insights general manager at Statistics New Zealand, highlighted the contribution of these weather events to declines in horticulture and transport support services.
Weakness in the Economy ‘not necessarily negative’
- The central bank of New Zealand sees the economic weakness as a positive outcome aligned with its objective of slowing down economic growth to address inflation concerns.
- This contraction is expected to reinforce the belief that the cash rate has reached its peak, according to economists.
- In response to rising inflation, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand has implemented its most aggressive monetary policy tightening since 1999.
- Since October 2021, the official cash rate has been increased by 525 basis points, reaching 5.50 percent.
- However, the central bank has recently indicated that it has completed its tightening measures.
- Even before the release of the first-quarter GDP data, the central bank had already anticipated a recession in the second quarter of 2023.
- On the other hand, the treasury’s updated forecasts in May suggested that the country would be able to avoid entering a recession.
Overall, the central bank’s actions and projections reflect its efforts to address inflation and maintain stability in the New Zealand economy.
What is the Recession?
A recession refers to a significant decline in economic activity within a country, typically characterized by a contraction in the gross domestic product (GDP) for two consecutive quarters.
- During a recession, various economic indicators such as employment, income levels, industrial production, and consumer spending tend to decline.
- It is a period of economic slowdown, often accompanied by reduced consumer spending, business investment, and overall economic output.
- Recessions are considered a normal part of the economic cycle and can have wide-ranging impacts on individuals, businesses, and governments.
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New Zealand – FAQs
Which is the capital of New Zealand?
Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand. It is located on the southern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range. Wellington is the second-largest city in New Zealand by metro area. It is the world’s southernmost capital of a sovereign state. Wellington is the world’s windiest city by average wind speed.
Who is the current Prime Minister of New Zealand?
Chris Hipkins is the current Prime Minister of New Zealand. He was sworn in on January 25, 2023, after the resignation of Jacinda Ardern. Hipkins is a member of the Labour Party and has served as Minister of Education and Minister of COVID-19 Response since 2020.