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Economy in Brief

Some Recent Data From New Zealand
by Louise Curley August 4, 2008

Shortly after the late June report of a first quarter 0.6% decline in New Zealand's Real Gross Domestic Product, the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) reported that its second quarter opinion survey showed that the pessimists on the outlook outweighed the optimists by 64%, the same balance as in the first quarter. (See the first chart).

Seasonally unadjusted data on the trade balance showed a $NZ295 million improvement in June over June of last year. Exports were up $NZ 846 million and imports $NZ 550 million. The trade balance tends to vary considerably from month to month so that it is useful to look at the trend adjusted data, which at present is pointing downward, as can be seen in the second chart.

Public sector wages and salaries in New Zealand continued to rise in the second quarter of 2008, while wages and salaries in the private sector declined slightly. Wages and salaries in the public sector have generally increased faster than those in the private sector as can be seen in the third chart.

The exchange rate has depreciated 12% against the dollar from the peaks earlier this year and while the Stock Market declined by almost 25% from January 4 to July 15, it has since risen by 10%, as seen in the last chart.

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