WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New figures show New Zealand's agriculture-driven economy grew by a surprisingly robust 1.1 percent in the first quarter.
Government agency Statistics New Zealand reports agriculture grew by 2.3 percent and manufacturing by 1.8 percent during the first three months of the year, compared to the previous three months. Overall GDP growth was more than double the Reserve Bank estimate of 0.4 percent and about double what economists had been predicting.
The statistics agency says favorable weather boosted agricultural production.
New Zealand's $160 billion economy has fared better than many thanks to robust demand from Australia and China. However, ratings agencies continue to be concerned about high private debt, fueled by high housing prices.