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September 6, 2018

Slowing quake rebuild brings New Zealand construction to slowest pace in six years


New Zealand’s construction industry is growing at the slowest pace in six years, adding to risks that the economy may struggle to gain momentum.

Construction growth slowed to 1.8 percent in the year ended June, less than a quarter of the 8.1 percent pace in the prior year, Statistics New Zealand data showed Wednesday. Residential building rose 3.2 percent, down from 10.2 percent, while non-residential construction contracted.

Economists are closely watching for signs that economic growth is faltering after the central bank last month said it wanted to see a pick-up in activity by the end of the year or it may have to consider an interest-rate cut. While the level of building activity remains high, its sluggish expansion may weigh on growth, which slowed to 2.7 percent in the first quarter after averaging about 3.5 percent in the three years through 2017.

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