HSBC: 'New Zealand Will Be the Rock Star Economy of 2014'

Wednesday, 08 Jan 2014 07:09 AM

By Kristin Caliendo

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New Zealand's economy could be one of fastest growing markets of 2014, with growth predictions set to outperform similar developed markets, according to HSBC, and creating an even larger gap between it and Australia, which is lacking a push towards economic growth.

"We think New Zealand will be the rock star economy of 2014. Growth is going to pick up pretty solidly this year," Paul Bloxham, chief economist for Australia and New Zealand at HSBC, told CNBC.

HSBC predicts 3.4 percent economic growth in 2014, well above 2.5 percent trend growth and the fastest clip since 2007. The bank expects the economy to grow 3 percent for 2013.

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Bloxham noted there are three signs that point to a stronger economy.

First, the Canterbury region is being rebuilt after the tragic earthquake in February 2011, generating spending on construction. "There's an enormous amount of construction that's going into building that region of the economy," he explained.

In fact, Capital Economics explained in a research note that reconstruction should continue to boost the economy for some time, as spending is predicted to remain steady until it reaches its peak in 2017.

Second, growth can also be attributed to low interest rates and a wave of net immigration, which have resulted in the country's housing boom.

Lastly, rural incomes are thriving, as a surge in demand for and rising prices of dairy fuel the exporter's economy.

On the other hand, Daniel Martin, Asia economist at Capital Economics, isn't as optimistic, noting that two factors may inhibit such rapid growth.

"First, New Zealand's two main export markets, Australia and China, are expected to slow. Second, and more importantly, the government is looking to return its budget to surplus by 2014/15," he wrote in the research note, CNBC reported.

Kathy Lien, managing director of BK Asset Management, believes the Australian dollar is the "hottest" currency for this year. "Of all the major currencies, our favorite is the New Zealand dollar because in addition to talking about raising interest rates this year, the Reserve Bank also laid out a plan to bring rates from the record low of 2.5 percent to 4.75 percent by the first quarter of 2016," she wrote in a report, according to CNBC.

"New Zealand is poised for an economic surge. Business confidence is stronger than it has been at any time since the recession and global financial crisis," an editorial in The New Zealand Herald stated.

"After five years of no or slow growth, the economy is overdue for a strong recovery but that can be said of most of the world. New Zealand is one of the few places that appears to have shaken off the shackles at last."

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