New Zealand's fourth quarter GDP expected to be a 'negative number', economists say

New Zealand's economic growth likely decreased in the fourth quarter of 2022 due to lukewarm retail consumption and softer manufacturing and construction demand, experts say.

Last month, the Reserve Bank unsurprisingly hiked the official cash rate to 4.75 percent - signalling worries about ongoing inflation despite previously adding 400 basis points since October 2021.

Independent economist Cameron Bagrie predicted New Zealand's GDP would be a "negative number" in the December quarter, down from Q3's 2 percent growth

Forecasts for quarterly GDP growth, due to be released on Thursday, ranged from the market's -0.2 percent prediction to the RBNZ's 0.7 percent expansion expectation.

Bagrie told AM the slowdown needed "to be put in perspective".

"We saw an absolute boomer Q3/September quarter GDP - it knocked the ball out of the park," said Bagrie. "So if we see a modest pullback in the December quarter, which I think we're going to see, obviously the media is going to say, 'Well that's [the] first stage of the recession.'

"To me, we've got to be a little bit more careful about how we describe this because you've got to average it out over two quarters. I think the really tough times are the back half of '23 and early 2024."

The RBNZ forecasts New Zealand's growth to average about 3.9 percent this year and then drop to 0.1 percent in 2024.