The economy is expected to have grown just above 3% over 2017, but economists are worried New Zealand is coming to the end of the current business cycle and a period of lower growth could be around the corner

The economy is expected to have grown just above 3% over 2017, but economists are worried New Zealand is coming to the end of the current business cycle and a period of lower growth could be around the corner

Economic growth is expected to remain moderate but concerns of a slowdown are mounting as New Zealand’s economy moves further into the late cycle of its growth.

Economists are picking last year’s fourth quarter GDP growth to come in between 0.6%-0.8% when figures are released on Thursday.

Westpac, whose 0.6% forecast is the most bearish of the major banks, says the fourth quarter of last year was just an average few months for the economy.

“There are no obvious one-off factors driving the quarterly result, just modest growth across a range of sectors.”

Construction was a mixed bag and there were strong gains in the retail sector. But, a Westpac economic note says, growth in services – the largest part of the economy – was “more subdued.”

ASB, whose 0.8% growth pick was the market leader, is a little bit more upbeat than Westpac.

“We expect GDP growth over Q4 will be led by strong business services, a rebound in housing market activity and strong retail trade volumes.”

BNZ, ANZ and the Reserve Bank are all expecting a 0.7% rise quarter-on-quarter, which would see growth of 3.1% for the year.

But there are mounting concerns New Zealand’s economic growth has peaked and is coming to the end of its growth cycle.

The market consensus of 3.1% growth, although respectable, is almost 1% off the 2016 high.

ANZ says firms are already facing greater margin pressures.

“The low-hanging fruit, growth-wise, has already been picked and we need productivity growth to lift to maintain decent rates of activity growth from here, given that recent population and labour utilisation growth is unlikely to be maintained.”

House prices are unlikely to race away or fall sharply, ANZ says, adding this would likely see households rebuild their precautionary savings.

This would, however, weigh on spending, causing a drag on economic growth.

ASB senior economist Jane Turner says it is clear the economy is at the end of the business cycle.

She says the current cycle started when New Zealand went through a recession in 2008 and continued to the point where the economy has been growing above its potential – “we are quite a long way through that.”

The output gap – the difference between actual economic activity and potential activity – has only just narrowed to a reasonable level, Turner says .

New Zealand needs a few years above potential activity, which will help increase inflation pressures before the Reserve Bank can comfortably say the economy has made it through the current business cycle, she says.  

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Humm... Reading through that article I would have expected it to refer to our GDP growth pointing to factors such as our agricultural and tourism industries. But the one factor that is mentioned is housing and construction.

I love the was ASB economist dances around the the fact that our house prices 'grew beyond their potential' (aka foreign buyers pushed prices in to the stratosphere). And now we're on the 'Output gap' which is their polite way of saying, now that house prices are declining to reasonable levels.

So what I would like to know, is just how much of NZ's GDP belongs to housing and the construction industry? Please can they provide some percentage figures for us to rather than just dancing around the real issue.

If you're interested in housing's impact on GDP (and I assume you mean the bubble), look to retail, which is positive for the quarter.

Growing retail trade figures looked at in isolation would be an incorrect assessment as these numbers are mainly driven towards a positive result by cheaper lending, short-term (tourists) and long-term (workers) migration.
These factors can be attributed to nothing but a strong global demand for our exports and sustained improvements in our terms of trades.

How all this will fare in a rising interest rate environment and possibly flattening global growth is the real question.

Yes, strong retail figures can be influenced by a number of factors, including asset bubbles. If there were no bubble, there is a likelihood that retail spending would be much lower.

Yes and here's another bubble: Canadian Real Estate Debt Passed 76% of GDP, Here’s The New Problem We Have

Better Dwelling article:

As constructed now, they need debt. Or as constructed now, they inevitably produce too much debt.

We end up with year after year in which private debt grows faster than nominal GDP. We end up with it looking as if we need that debt to grow nominal GDP. ,

And yet, if that is the case, the system is bound to blow up in the end and is bound to put us in a malaise we were placed in after the blow-up of 2008.

-- Adair Turner, ex-head of Britain’s chief financial regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) during the GFC