Timaru District Quarterly economic monitor - December 2018

Overview

Indicator Timaru District Canterbury Region New Zealand
Annual average % change
Gross domestic product
1.7%
2.4%
2.8%
Traffic flow
1.2%
3.1%
2.7%
Health Enrolments
0.8%
2.2%
1.9%
Consumer spending
3.3%
3.2%
4.5%
Residential consents
-3.1%
-4.7%
6.1%
Non-residential consents
7.0%
10%
9.0%
House prices*
3.0%
1.7%
2.6%
House sales
2.6%
5.3%
3.5%
Guest nights
3.6%
8.8%
2.3%
Tourism expenditure
5.0%
11%
4.3%
Car registrations
-8.4%
-7.4%
-6.7%
Commercial vehicle registrations
-3.0%
-3.0%
1.6%
Jobseeker Support recipients
-0.2%
12%
4.8%
Level
Unemployment rate
2.4%
3.7%
4.3%
* Annual percentage change (latest quarter compared to a year earlier)

Overview of Timaru District

Economic growth in Tīmaru is provisionally estimated to have been 1.5% in 2018, slightly down on a year ago when growth was 2.4%. Traffic flows in Tīmaru are rising at a similar level, up 1.2% in 2018. Some indicators below the headline remain a little mixed, but consumer spending, the visitor economy, and commercial construction have shown more signs of life.

Infometrics recently released Regional Economic Profile shows that Tīmaru’s economy added 391 jobs in the March 2018 year, taking total job numbers to 25,542. The sharpest increases were in manufacturing, administration and support services, transport and warehousing, the primary sector, and construction. Offsetting job losses were concentrated in parts of retailing, horticulture, and information media.

Against a backdrop of improved job prospects and a reasonable dairy payout, there was healthy growth in consumer spending. Data from Marketview shows that purchases on electronic cards climbed 3.3% in 2018 following 4.0% growth the previous year.

Spending in Tīmaru was also pushed higher by visitors. Data from MBIE showed that visitor spending in Tīmaru District climbed 5.0% in 2018 to a record $224m. Commercial guest nights also grew, rising 3.6%, compared to 2.4% growth nationally.

We have recently begun using enrolments at primary health providers as a timely proxy for population growth. The data shows that health enrolments in Tīmaru rose 0.8% across 2018, following 0.8% growth in 2017.

Although there were slightly fewer new dwelling consents in 2018, the value of commercial (non-residential) construction consents has begun pushing higher, rising 7.0% in 2018. Further growth in homebuilding consents in neighbouring districts will also help keep Tīmaru builders and other tradies busy.

Overview of national economy

Throughout 2018, business confidence indicators suggested the New Zealand economy was going to crash and burn. But although growth slowed slightly, there were no other signs we were staring down the barrel of a full- blown recession. Looking to 2019, New Zealand’s domestic economy remains in a similar position to 12 months ago: prospects of middling growth, somewhat hampered by capacity constraints and a tight labour market, and with some of the biggest potential shifts being driven by government policies (such as migration or the housing market). In contrast to this largely unchanged domestic picture, many question marks have appeared during the last year over the international economic environment.