Sydney, Australia, Dec 17 (efe-epa).- New Zealand has rebounded out of recession to pre-Covid levels as its gross domestic product (GDP) grew 14 percent in the third quarter, the country’s statistics office reported Thursday.
The growth follows a revised 11 percent drop experienced in the previous quarter, when Covid-19 restrictions impacted economic recovery, said government department Stats NZ.
From a year earlier, the economy expanded 0.4 percent against a forecast 1.8 percent fall.
“GDP was up compared with the September 2019 quarter, indicating that overall we’ve managed to return to a pre-Covid level of activity,” Stats NZ national accounts senior manager Paul Pascoe said in a statement.
“However, the effects of Covid-19 have had specific and varied impacts at industry level and, for some industries, these may persist for some time.”
Consumer spending fueled the rebound, with service industries, which account for about two-thirds of GDP, up 11.1 percent in the third quarter after a drop of 9.8 percent in the second.
Goods-producing industries grew 26 percent and primary industries 4.6 percent, after falling 15.9 and 7.1 percent respectively in the quarter ending in June.
Retail trade and accommodation were up 42.8 percent and construction was up 52.4 percent after both having been severely impacted by Covid-19 lockdowns in the previous quarter.
However, GDP contracted 2.2 percent over the year to September – the largest annual decline recorded in the GDP series, Stats NZ said.
“Even though activity across the country largely returned to pre-Covid-19 levels, we haven’t recouped all the activity or production lost as a result of the lockdown in the June 2020 quarter,” Pascoe said.
New Zealand, which closed its borders to curb Covid-19 and ordered one of the strictest confinements in the world in March when it only had 50 cases, has accumulated 1,744 confirmed infections and 25 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
The measures adopted by the government of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, praised for its effective management of the country’s epidemic, allowed the more than 5 million inhabitants to return to normality in June, although between August and September residents of Auckland, the most populated city in the country, were again confined due to an outbreak. EFE-EPA