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New Zealand economy shrinks fast

Sheep
Agriculture was one of the few industries to grow in the fourth quarter

The New Zealand economy shrank at its fastest rate in 17 years in the last three months of 2008.

Its gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.9%, the most since 1992, led by a drop in manufacturing, according to Statistics New Zealand.

GDP shrank in all four quarters of 2008. The International Monetary Fund expects a further 2% decline in 2009.

On an annual basis, the country's GDP declined by 1.9%, more than the 0.1% fall in the previous quarter.

New Zealand entered recession last year for the first time since 1998.



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