Timaru District shows resilience in gross domestic product growth

Despite falling numbers in several sectors, the Timaru District has shown resilience in growing its gross domestic product (GDP) to June 2020, the head of the district’s economic agency says.

However, it was not all good news with the district’s GDP falling by 9 per cent in the Covid affected June quarter, compared with a national drop of 12.6 per cent, but Venture Timaru chief executive Nigel Davenport said strong primary and food manufacturing sectors meant the district had performed better than predicted.

“Many of the businesses in these sectors kept on working during lockdown as essential services and that’s clearly reflected in the impact on our district’s economic performance,’’ he said.

The latest data collected by analyst firm Infometrics shows the district’s $2.949 billion economy grew by 0.6 per cent in the first six months of 2020 compared with a national decline of 2.1 per cent.

Employment numbers, spending, residential consents, and non-residential consents have all dropped in the wake of a Covid-19 affected year, according to the report.

Venture Timaru subscribes to the Infometrics data and uses the information from it, and reports from New Zealand economic research company BERL, to source a variety of statistics for economic development in the Timaru District.

Davenport said “put simply’’ the figures mean the district has not had the ‘’same level of negative impact compared with other parts of the country.

“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 the Timaru District is performing well.”

The report also shows consumer spending in the district has been hit by the loss of international tourists and the lockdown, but has still grown by 1.7 per cent.

“It’s interesting to see that with the tourism spending recorded, most of it is on food and beverages, and not accommodation,” Davenport said.

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