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NZ economy avoids recession narrowly
The West Australian NZ economy avoids recession narrowly

New Zealand's earthquake-battered economy has narrowly avoided recession as it limped to 0.2 per cent growth in the October-December quarter, official data shows.

The quarterly figure, which was in line with market expectations, followed a 0.2 per cent contraction in the July-September quarter. Two straight quarters of negative growth would have put New Zealand in a technical recession.

Statistics New Zealand said the 0.2 per cent growth in gross domestic product in the final three months of 2010 meant New Zealand's economy expanded by 1.5 per cent during the calendar year.

It said New Zealand's economic performance in late 2010 was affected by an earthquake that hit Christchurch in September, claiming no lives but causing extensive damage.

"Short-term impacts from the September earthquake on GDP were expected due to disruption to infrastructure, and businesses being closed," SNZ said.

A second quake hit Christchurch on February 22, causing even more damage and killing an estimated 182 people. The government has said it expects the disaster to cripple growth in the first half of 2011.