By the Numbers: New Zealand’s Rockstar Economy

The data driving Asia

Paul Bloxham, HSBC chief economist, recently dubbed New Zealand the “rockstar” economy of 2014. Analysts predict New Zealand’s economy will grow more than 3 percent this year, driven by high dairy prices and the rebuilding of Christchurch following the devastating 2011 earthquake. We explore this rockstar economy, by the numbers:


New Zealand’s benchmark interest rate, which the Reserve Bank of New Zealand raised by 25 basis points on March 13. New Zealand is the first advanced economy to raise its benchmark rate since the global financial crisis. The central bank predicts the rate will reach 4.75 percent by 2015.

$34 billion

The amount of money pumped into the New Zealand economy as a result of construction projects following the magnitude 6.3 earthquake that struck Christchurch, New Zealand’s second city, in February 2011. The earthquake destroyed much of the city and killed 185 people. The Christchurch rebuild is now hitting its stride, and new construction projects are boosting the prospects for growth.

Cows of the South Waikato dairy herd in southern  New Zealand. Dairy exports represent one of the reasons New Zealand was recently described as a rockstar economy in 2014.

Cows of the South Waikato dairy herd in southern New Zealand. Dairy exports represent a key reason why New Zealand was recently described as one of the rockstar economies of 2014. Source: EssjayNZ’s flickr photostream, used under a creative commons license.


The number of countries to which New Zealand exports dairy products. New Zealand produces roughly a third of the world’s dairy exports, and the Financial Times recently called it the “Saudi Arabia of milk.” New Zealand exported around $13.3 billion of dairy goods in 2013, $4.3 billion to China alone. The dairy industry contributes 2.8 percent of New Zealand’s gross domestic product and about 25 percent of total exports.


The estimated number of sheep in New Zealand in 2013, which amounts to about 6.5 per person. It is well known that sheep outnumber people in New Zealand, but people are closing the gap. In 1982, there were 22 sheep per person. The decline in sheep numbers is largely attributed to an increase in cattle, as farmers convert to dairy farms to benefit from surging prices and strong demand.


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