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Country Report New Zealand September 2017

Country Report New Zealand September 2017

  • September 2017
  • ID: 2358815
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

Summary

Table of Contents

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Outlook for 2017-21



  • The Economist Intelligence Unit expects that the National Party will remain in power after the general election on September 23rd 2017, but that it will still be dependent on the support of minor parties.
  • Despite a challenging global environment and modest personal income tax cuts, we expect the government to achieve small budget surpluses, equivalent to 0.9% of GDP on average, in fiscal years 2017/18-2020/21 (July-June).
  • We expect the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ, the central bank) to keep its main policy rate, the official cash rate, unchanged at 1.75% in 2017. But it is likely to lower the rate further in 2018 in response to slowing global growth.
  • Real GDP, measured on an expenditure basis, is forecast to expand by an average of 2.3% a year in 2017-21, supported in part by strong immigration-led population growth and related construction activity.
  • We expect annual consumer price inflation to pick up to an average of 1.8% in 2017, from 0.6% last year, before easing slightly in 2018. It will remain comfortably within the RBNZ's 1-3% target band in 2019-21.
  • The exchange rate of the New Zealand dollar will average NZ$1.42:US$1 in 2017, but will lose value in 2018-19 as the global economic picture weakens. The exchange rate is forecast to average NZ$1.60:US$1 in 2018-21.
  • We forecast that the current-account deficit will be equivalent to 3% of GDP on average in 2017-21. The ongoing current-account shortfall largely reflects a still-wide deficit on the primary income account.


Review



  • The poll of polls, released by Radio New Zealand (a public-service broad-caster), on September 15th put the ruling National Party and the main opposition Labour Party at level pegging ahead of the general election on September 23rd.
  • The rupture on September 14th of a pipeline that was the sole source of aviation fuel to Auckland airport led to the widespread disruption of flights, and has forced aviation companies to make unscheduled stopovers at airports elsewhere in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific for refuelling.
  • The volume of retail sales rose by 2% quarter on quarter in April-June, following an increase of 1.6% in January-March, according to seasonally adjusted data from Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) released on August 14th.
  • Data released by SNZ on September 1st show that the merchandise terms of trade-the ratio between export and import prices for goods-rose by 1.5% quarter on quarter in April-June, to a near 44-year high.


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