Taupō’s economy expanded rapidly during the early stages of winter. Infometrics’ provisional estimate of GDP shows growth of 3.7% in the June 2018 year, compared to 2.7% growth nationally.
The tourism sector continues to expand: Taupō guest nights are up 3.5% in the June 2018 year, which compares well with a national average of 2.4%. Tourist expenditure also grew by a healthy 6.3%, although this fell short of 8.5% growth across the country as a whole.
Nationally, domestic and international visitors contributed fairly evenly to the growth in visitor spending. Visitor arrivals from China accelerated again, growing by 12.8% in the June 2018 year. This is partly due to the availability of five-year multiple-entry visas, which were introduced in May 2017.
Taupō also continues to benefit from strong farmgate milk prices. At current levels farmers are on track for their third consecutive profitable season. Prices softened during the June quarter as a result of softer demand from China. In response, Fonterra revised down its 2018/19 farmgate milk price forecast from $7.00/kgms to $6.70/kgms. But this is still 70% higher than the disastrous 2015/16 season. Future spending growth could be tempered by high debt levels and concerns about Mycoplasma bovis. Sheep farmers have seen strong buying demand from most major markets, against a backdrop of limited supply, result in lamb prices cracking $8.00/kg for the first time on record.
Infometrics’ estimate of Taupō’s unemployment rate averaged 3.5% for the June 2018 year – the same as the March 2018 Year and the average number of Jobseeker Support recipients continues its fall, declining by 3.7% in the June 2018 year.
With money pouring into the tourism and primary sectors and the labour market strong, it’s no surprise to see electronic card spending on retail purchases in Taupō rise 5.4% in the June 2018 year. The booming local economy, coupled with population growth has seen house prices grow by 8.2% in the June 2018 year. Residential consents are up 6.9% and non-residential consents are up 53% which will keep the construction sector busy for a while yet.