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New Zealand economy grows 0.9 percent in fourth quarter last year

WELLINGTON--New Zealand's economy expanded 0.9 percent quarter-on-quarter in October-December 2013, taking annual growth to 2.7 percent, official data showed Thursday.

The figures, driven by a 2.1 percent rise in manufacturing, were in line with expectations and are unlikely to alter the central bank's policy of tightening interest rates, which began earlier this month.

Statistics New Zealand said manufacturing reached its highest level since March 2006 as the economy recorded its 12th consecutive quarter of growth.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand this month became the first advanced economy to raise interest rates since 2012, when it increased the official cash rate by 0.25 points to 2.75 percent.

It said rates no longer needed to be held at record lows in an economy that was growing with “considerable momentum,” predicting they could reach 4.5 percent over the next two years as it moves to rein in inflation.

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