GDP growth outdoes expectations, but still declining

Gross domestic product rose 0.7 percent in the September quarter thanks to a boost in spending on electronic goods, Statistics NZ said on Thursday.

"Retail industry growth of 2.4 percent in the quarter was boosted by robust spending on electronics such as appliances, mobile phones, and computers after a quieter period in the June quarter," said spokesperson Gary Dunnett.

Electronics themselves were up 4.4 percent, much of it down to big-screen TV sales ahead of the recent Rugby World Cup.

"Products like TVs, computers, and mobile phones are getting cheaper, and New Zealanders are buying more of them," said retail statistics manager Sue Chapman.

But that boost was offset by the struggling service industries, which only rose 0.4 percent - but make up two-thirds of the economy.

Accommodation also fell 1.4 percent this quarter.

Though annual growth is slowing, it's not slowing as fast as previously believed, Statistics NZ said, revising GDP growth in the quarter to June up to 2.8 percent, from an originally reported 2.4 percent.

"The revised results show that average annual growth rates held up for slightly longer than previously published. However, recent trends remain unchanged, with average annual growth rates slowing over the past few quarters," said Dunnett.

That's reflected in the September annual figure, which Statistics NZ says is 2.7 percent - down 0.1. 

ASB had tipped a 0.7 percent rise, but the Reserve Bank was reportedly expecting 0.3 and ANZ 0.5.