RTTNews - New Zealand's economic activity increased 0.4% in the June quarter compared to the March quarter, the National Bank of New Zealand said Thursday, citing results of its latest regional trends survey. That was the first quarterly increase since 2007.

The increase was led by rise in business and consumer confidence, retail sales, house sales and dwelling approvals. At the same time, employment dropped in most regions and the unemployment rate rose to a nine-year high.

Of the fourteen regional economies surveyed, eight regions registered a rise in economic activity in the June quarter, while six regions recorded declining activity.

Waikato region recorded its fifth consecutive quarterly decline in economic activity and Taranaki registered its fourth successive quarterly decrease.

On an annual basis thirteen regional economies recorded contractions in the June quarter, the survey found. The exception was Gisborne, which registered a 0.3% rise in economic growth. Northland recorded the largest fall in economic activity, shrinking 4.4% in the twelve months to June.

In the first quarter, New Zealand's gross domestic product declined 1% compared to the fourth quarter, the fifth consecutive decline. It followed a 1% contraction in the fourth quarter of the previous year. The statistical office is scheduled to release the second quarter GDP report on September 23.

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