Asia - Pacific

New Zealand enters 1st recession in decades

Following strict COVID-19 restrictions, country's economy shrinks 12.2% in June quarter, says state-run media

New Zealand enters 1st recession in decades


Following strict coronavirus restrictions, New Zealand entered a recession as the country's economy shrank 12.2% in the June quarter, a record drop since 1987, state-run media reported on Thursday.

Official numbers show gross domestic product (GDP) fell a seasonally adjusted 12.2% for the three months up to June, according to Radio New Zealand (RNZ).

The country has been witnessing the biggest fall since New Zealand introduced the current measuring data system in 1987.

"Industries like retail, accommodation and restaurants, and transport saw significant declines in production because they were most directly affected by the international travel ban and strict nation-wide lockdown," RNZ quoted Stats NZ senior manager Paul Pascoe as saying.

Household domestic spending also dropped 12%. Annually, GDP fell 2% – the first annual decline since the March 2010 quarter.

Service industries dropped 10.9%, with consumer spending falling more than 25%, RNZ reported.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the current figures were expected following the government's tough restrictions to contain the coronavirus.

"Sharp economic decline was no surprise, but the government's measures such as the wage subsidy, business loans, and other schemes had cushioned the impact and laid the foundation for the rebound," said Robertson.

"Going hard and early means that we can come back faster and stronger," state-run media quoted Robertson as saying.

New Zealand’s economic slump is higher than Australia’s 7% and Canada’s 11.5%, but less than that of the UK and India.

In March, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern placed her country under a strict lockdown for a month following COVID-19 outbreak.

New Zealand has so far recorded 1,809 cases with 25 deaths, while 1,707 patients have recovered, according to the health ministry.

*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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