Marlborough Region Quarterly economic monitor - September 2019

Overview

Indicator Marlborough Region New Zealand
Annual average % change
Gross domestic product
1.6%
2.4%
Traffic flow
2.5%
1.3%
Health Enrolments
2.8%
2.0%
Consumer spending
3.1%
3.4%
Residential consents
-19.5%
12.0%
Non-residential consents
50.9%
12.7%
House prices*
5.0%
1.9%
House sales
1.3%
-0.7%
Guest nights
0.4%
1.2%
Tourism expenditure
-0.6%
3.1%
Car registrations
-3.7%
-8.5%
Commercial vehicle registrations
-7.8%
-1.6%
Jobseeker Support recipients
12.7%
10.3%
Level
Unemployment rate
3.0%
4.2%
* Annual percentage change (latest quarter compared to a year earlier)

Overview of Marlborough Region

Marlborough’s economy continues its solid performance. Infometrics’ provisional GDP estimate grew by 1.6% in the September 2019 year while electronic card spending on retail purchases rose 3.1%. Prices for horticulture products remain at high levels, as do lamb and beef prices as steep culls in the Chinese pig herd to contain the effects of African Swine Flu have raised China’s demand for imported protein.

Marlborough’s population has been growing faster than previously estimated. Following the release of the 2018 census, StatsNZ has revised the district’s 2018 population upwards to 48,800 from the previous estimate of 46,600. By June 2019, StatsNZ estimate that the district’s population had increased a further 0.8% to reach 49,200.

Population growth is supporting the housing market with house sales in the district up 1.3% in the September 2019 year and house prices rising 5.0%. Residential consents fell 20% in the September 2019 year after a strong 2018 but remain close to the 10-year average. Non-residential consents grew 51% in the September 2019 year following strong June and September 2019 quarters.

Guest nights in the district rose 0.4% in the September 2019 year but remain 5.6% above their 10-year average while spending by tourists is down slightly from its 2018 peak, falling 0.6% in the September 2019 year.

At 3.0%, the district’s unemployment rate remains well below the national average rate of 4.2%. However, the number of Jobseeker Support recipients continues to climb, growing 13% in the September 2019 year.

Overview of national economy

Warning signs continue to appear for the direction of the New Zealand economy over the next few years, even as current activity remains solid. There is a growing divide between current activity and the outlook for the future, with global and domestic uncertainty at odds with current demand-led growth. There are both upside and downside risks to the future direction of travel, although on balance a deteriorating economic outlook is more likely. An expected pick-up in the housing market over 2020 has the potential to draw the economy out of the doldrums, but continued slower global economic growth, low domestic investment, and slowing spending growth could tip the economy in the other direction.