New Zealand’s successful public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic should not be taken to mean our economic struggles are over, according to Infometrics’ latest forecasts. Given that life has largely returned to “normal” at Alert Level 1, economic outcomes in the near-term will be better than initially feared. However, the full effects of the border closures, business failures, and job losses will only become apparent over the next 18 months.
Back during Christmas 2017, car dealers must have had plenty to celebrate. Riding the crest of a wave of population growth and a prosperous economy, spurred on by the National-led Government’s open-door policy towards international migration, an unprecedented 274,000 new and used cars had been newly registered in New Zealand in the previous 12 months.
The New Zealand economy faces up to two years of consolidation following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Infometrics’ latest forecasts released last week. Even with massive government intervention to cushion the downturn and stimulate a recovery, there is no way the economy can quickly and completely bounce back from the restrictions currently in place. Instead, the structural changes the New Zealand economy is undergoing will establish a new “normal” operating environment for businesses.
From a few concerns about the effects on Chinese tourism in late January to a full-blown pandemic and lockdown in New Zealand, the COVID-19 crisis has evolved rapidly over the last two months. We communicate just how quickly the economic ramifications have unfolded and examine how things might play out for the economy over the next 1-2 years.
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing economic chaos both internationally and in New Zealand. A recession is now inevitable, and the economic ramifications of the pandemic and response will substantially change people’s livelihoods. However, New Zealand is resilient and stands ready to weather this pandemic, and there are actions that can be taken to reduce the severity of the economic blow.
Infometrics’ latest forecasts suggest there is little reason to be feeling more upbeat about New Zealand’s economic prospects, despite some improvement in confidence surveys over the last few months. The company expects growth to regain some momentum over the next year, but it believes nothing has changed to help the economy avoid mediocre results beyond 2021.
House prices rose almost 50% during the last decade over and above consumer price inflation. It would be brave to expect a repeat performance over the next 10 years, although we might have felt the same way looking at the market 10 years ago, after the 60% lift in real house prices during the 2000s.
New Zealand’s housing market isn’t functioning as well as it should be, with higher house prices, rising rents, falling home ownership, and a lack of housing options. But just how large is the housing shortage that we continually hear about?
The global economic slowdown will continue to be a drag on New Zealand’s economy over the next year, according to Infometrics’ latest forecasts. Escalating tariffs as a result of the trade war between the US and China have seen global growth expectations steadily downgraded. China, New Zealand’s largest export market and the major engine of the global economy over the last decade, is growing at its slowest rate in 30 years. All these factors mean that next year the world economy could record its slowest growth since 2012.
The latest Infometrics forecasts reinforce that New Zealand is expected to experience a period of softer growth over the next few years. With many businesses and boards currently reviewing their strategic plans and priorities for the coming years we thought it useful to briefly highlight some of the key current economic insights that decision makers need to be aware of.