Christchurch’s GDP growth still outperforming national average

Christchurch’s GDP growth still outperforming national average

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According to the latest ChristchurchNZ Quarterly Economic Report, economic activity in Christchurch has continued to soften, although the city’s GDP growth is still outperforming the national average.

Christchurch’s GDP growth slowed to 0.5 percent over the year to March 2024, compared to the previous year, outperforming national economic growth (up 0.2% over the same period). The rate of annual economic growth has been slowing both locally and nationally since mid-2022, although GDP growth in Christchurch has remained above the national average since mid-2023.

Economic Analysist Sophie Jones says the first three months of the year continued to chart a path of subdued economic activity.

“A number of the key economic trends heading into 2024 mirror those of our quarterly report from this time last year, with job ads charting downwards, the property market remaining sluggish, and the impact of living costs and interest rates continuing to weigh on consumer sentiment and spending patterns.

“On a more positive note, international tourism remained a bright spot for the local economy, with visitor spend reaching a new quarterly record in terms of both value and volume, and accommodation occupancy in Christchurch sitting well above the national average.

“Strength in tourism is supporting the services industry, with Canterbury’s services sector in expansion during every month of March. Employment indicators point to a clear softening in demand for labour, with the unemployment rate and the number of people on Jobseeker trending upwards.

“Residential building consents are continuing to struggle along, down 19% from the same time last year and pointing to a weaker pipeline of future work for the construction sector.

“The value of exports from Christchurch ports was also lower than during the same time in 2023, down 15.4 percent, with lower world prices for key commodity exports continuing to drag on export values. The value of imports also fell by a similar percentage over the same period.”

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