Page last updated at 06:07 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 07:07 UK

New Zealand's slump longest ever

NZ train
New Zealand's industries have struggled with the rising currency

New Zealand's economy has shrunk for the fifth consecutive quarter, making it officially the longest recession in its history.

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell 1% in the first three months of the year from the previous quarter, which was more than had been expected.

The recent rise in the New Zealand dollar has hit exporters, suggesting the economy will continue shrinking.

The currency has risen nearly 10% against the US dollar so far this year.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand predicted earlier this month that the contraction will slow to 0.3% in the three months to June.

Only Australia, which is New Zealand's biggest trading partner, has avoided recession among developed economies.

New Zealand entered recession last year for the first time since 1998. GDP shrank in all four quarters of 2008.

The International Monetary Fund expects a 2% decline for the whole of 2009.

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