N.Z.’s Canterbury Economy Revives on Construction, ASB Bank Says

New Zealand’s earthquake-devastated Canterbury province, home to the nation’s third-largest city, has recovered to pre-quake levels of economic activity, according to ASB Bank Ltd.

A gauge of economic conditions in the South Island province was 0.1 in November, indicating activity exceeded the level in June 2010, ASB said in an e-mailed statement. Christchurch city and the surrounding Canterbury province have been rocked by quakes since September 2010, including a temblor in February 2011 that killed 185 people and closed the city’s business center.

“Over recent months we have seen steady improvement in most indexes,” Auckland-based ASB’s Chief Economist Nick Tuffley said. “Canterbury wage growth has been stronger than the rest of the country. These price developments signal demand is lifting, even if it is yet to be apparent in some activity indicators.”

ASB compiled the gauge from a mix of construction, housing, employment, consumption and production indicators with June 2010 based at zero. The monthly index was published for the first time today. The construction sub-index was the only one with a value exceeding zero, reflecting a surge in building consents and concrete production, the bank said.

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