Gisborne tops regional scoreboard as coronavirus weighs on forecasts

Gisborne has retained its gold medal for three consecutive quarters in the ASB Regional Economic Scoreboard for the fourth quarter of 2019.

A media release from ASB says that house price growth, retail sales and construction have all topped the nationwide ranks over the quarter, with Gisborne also on an excellent run with its diverse mix of exports.

 “We hate to be the party pooper in this situation, but we fear the good times will not extend into 2020,” says ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley.

 “In particular, the forestry sector has been hard hit by the disruptions caused by the coronavirus, with Gisborne sharing some of this burden. The meat sector being affected, too.  That perhaps leaves the region’s horticulture sector to do the heavy lifting over the first half of 2020,” says Tuffley.

 Waikato: After languishing near the bottom of the table last quarter, Waikato has jumped 11 places, taken out the bronze medal and claimed a four-star rating this quarter.

 “The region’s retailers had a good quarter, and so did vehicle dealerships. Perhaps the region’s farmers also got their cheque books out on the back of record meat prices and the improving milk price,” says Tuffley.

 “It seems in some cases that joy may be short-lived as the coronavirus outbreak and local drought combine to send rural incomes back to earth, at least temporarily,” says Tuffley.

Otago: The success of Otago in the coming few months is uncertain. Having posted solid, but not spectacular, results across most measures this quarter, the region has risen to sixth on the Scoreboard.

 The release says that looking ahead however, the future is slightly less clear.

 “If we were to single out one measure, new car sales annual growth was the second-highest in the country over the quarter. However, looking ahead to 2020, we are mindful that coronavirus will have an oversized impact,” says Tuffley.

 “Queenstown is likely to feel the pinch of a drop in international tourist numbers, while Dunedin is likely to suffer a similar fate in terms of international student arrivals. For both the tourism and education sectors, the outbreak couldn’t have come at a worse time,” says Tuffley.

 Hawke’s Bay: The Hawke’s Bay was this quarter’s biggest mover, sliding nine spots to 11th in this quarter’s scoreboard, after sitting in the top five for more than a year prior.

However, given the boomer growth in the retail sector over the past year or so, some moderation in sales growth is to be expected.

 “Moreover, the region’s key industries are in good shape fundamentally. That said, the meat and forestry sectors have a particularly bumpy start to 2020 to navigate ahead,” says Tuffley.

 Northland: Northland has slipped two spots to 12th in this quarter’s scoreboard, with Northlanders equal most pessimistic in the country.

 “Unfortunately, we think the first half of 2020 will be a challenge up North. Indeed, Northland has been hit hard by drought, and its tourism, forestry and meat industries are exposed to any fallout from the coronanvirus outbreak.


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