The New Zealand Bureau of Statistics reported today that Gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of this year contracted by 0.2% from last year’s fourth quarter.
New Zealand GDP is shrinking due to pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to labor and customer shortages in many sectors as New Zealanders are quarantined or working from home, while interest rates have risen to contain inflation.
Broken down by sector, manufacturing fell 1.4% from the previous quarter, led by the food and beverage machinery industry. The construction sector grew by 1.7%, while exports fell by 14%, led by the tourism and education sectors due to the country’s lockdown. Imports fell by 2.8%.
Compared to the same period last year, New Zealand’s GDP grew 1.2% in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, the tourism industry was under pressure because New Zealand had not yet opened the country. The rising cost of fuel and food caused people to curb their spending.
However, in mid-March, the government lowered fuel taxes to help consumers and began gradually opening the country to foreigners starting in April.