By PNA / Xinhua and U.S. News Agency / Asian
New Zealand’s economy grew by 3. 7 percent in the year to the end of March, but the economic data was giving mixed signals about its recovery from the Global Financial Crisis, the government statistics agency announced Wednesday.
The rise in GDP to 206.5 billion NZ dollars (168.53 billion U.S. dollars) was less than the 5-percent rise reported in the March 2011 year, according to the National Accounts (Income and Expenditure) issued by Statistics New Zealand.
“This is the first time New Zealand’s GDP has passed 200 billion NZ dollars,” national accounts manager Rachael Milicich said in a statement.
“While GDP was up, the underlying picture reflects economic uncertainty, with business profits and investment growing slowly in 2012.”
Increases in earnings from exports and in spending by households and government were larger than increases in investments and profits by businesses in the past year, according to the accounts.
Households continued to almost match their income and spending, in a turnaround from the period before 2010, when they regularly spent more than they earned.
In 2012, household spending was up 5 percent, outweighing income, which rose by 4.5 percent, by 100 million NZ dollars.
“This is in contrast to household spending exceeding income on average by 4 billion NZ dollars over the last 10 years,” Milicich said.
Profits for producer enterprises were up 1.1 percent, following an increase of 6.1 percent in 2011, while financial intermediaries ‘ profits rose 6.9 percent, following an increase of 0.3 percent the previous year.
The total income received by New Zealand residents was 166 billion NZ dollars, an increase of 3.9 percent, which appeared to spur an increase in consumption spending.
Total consumption expenditure by households and government rose 4.8 percent in the year ended March 2012 to 165 billion NZ dollars, with household consumption expenditure up 5 percent to 120 billion NZ dollars, following a rise of 4.1 percent in 2011, and government expenditure rose 4.2 percent, following an increase of 3.7 percent in 2011.
Investment in fixed assets rose by just 0.7 percent in the March year to 5.1 billion NZ dollars, well below the peak of 42.4 billion NZ dollars in the March 2008 year.
Government investment in fixed assets rose 2 percent, while private investment was almost unchanged, rising just 0.2 percent.
A drop in investment in residential and commercial buildings was more than offset by increases in plant, machinery, and equipment, and other construction infrastructure.