Timaru's economic growth ahead of national figure

21 February 2020

Timaru’s economy grew by a solid 2.5 percent in the year to December 2019, just ahead of the national rate of growth at 2.3 percent, the latest economic figures released this week show.

The figures are in the quarterly economic report prepared for Aoraki Development for the December quarter by analysts Infometrics.  They show Timaru District’s provisional GDP for the period was worth $2502 million.

“It’s a slim margin that puts us ahead of the national economy for the period, but the fact is we are ahead and that shows Timaru District is performing well,” said Aoraki Development chief executive Nigel Davenport.

The report states that the economy looks to have turned a corner, at least temporarily, at the end of 2019.

Average house values in Timaru have continued to grow steadily, up 5.5 percent to reach $373,082 in the year to December, consumer spending has grown by 1.7 percent and Timaru’s unemployment rate remains relatively low at 3.2 percent, below the national average.

“The challenge will be now to keep this growth steady, particularly over the winter months and with any ongoing fall-out from the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Davenport.

The 2019 Regional Economic Profile shows that the tourism sector accounts for 6.3 percent of employment in the Timaru District and visitor spending in the year to December was worth $232 million to the district – up 2.9 percent.

“It’s interesting to see that with the tourism spending recorded, most of it is on food and beverages, and not accommodation.  The economists are suggesting that this shows the rising importance of attracting domestic travellers as international tourist growth is presently slowing.”

With continued increases in the dairy pay-out, Timaru farmers are expected to earn $401m across the 2019/20 season, up $51m on last season.