New Zealand GDP fall from Covid-19 worst since 1991

University senior lecturer Dr Murat Ungor said New Zealand was very likely to record a second GDP...
University senior lecturer Dr Murat Ungor said New Zealand was very likely to record a second GDP contraction and enter a recession after the June quarter. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
New Zealand has had its biggest quarterly fall in GDP since 1991, a University of Otago economist has found.

University senior lecturer Dr Murat Ungor has crunched recent data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to analyse the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy.

He found New Zealand had its biggest quarterly fall in gross domestic product since 1991.

New Zealand’s GDP contracted by 1.6% in the March quarter of 2020, compared to the previous quarter and seasonally adjusted.

In March 1991 GDP fell 2.4%.

The last time this country had a negative quarterly growth rate was the last quarter of 2010, when it contracted by 0.5%.

The most recent contraction was likely to repeat in the June quarter, Dr Ungor said. At that point the country would enter a recession, after two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Dr Ungor found New Zealand’s major trading partner China had a historic slump, falling 9.8% in the first quarter.

Dr Ungor compared the post-Covid GDP levels with what happened after the global financial crisis [GFC].

“While China’s GDP plunged further during the first quarter of 2020 than during the 2009 global financial crisis, the situation is the reverse for Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States,” Dr Ungor said.

The economist said New Zealand was ranked first in the OECD’s ranking of how 21 of its members countries responded to the pandemic.

On a scale of one to four New Zealand was scored at 3.67 — only marked down for its provision of non Covid-19 healthcare.

In his year-to-year comparisons, Dr Ungor found China’s GDP fall was more than twice as large as it was after the GFC.


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