WELLINGTON: New Zealand shares eked out a small gain Thursday, helped by data showing the economy grew at a faster pace than expected at the end of 2015. The NZX-50 index closed up 0.2% at 6573.45, with banks among the major gainers. ANZ (ANZ.NZ) and Westpac (WBC.NZ) added 2.0% and 0.5% to NZ$29.20 and NZ$36.90, respectively.
Statistics New Zealand said the country’s GDP expanded by 0.9% in the three months to December from the previous quarter, powered by service-sector growth that outweighed weakness in agriculture and manufacturing. However, disappointing oil throughput data in January-February weighed on New Zealand Refining (NZR.NZ).
Refining NZ said the throughput of 6.8 million barrels of crude oil fell short of expectations due to the late arrival of tankers delivering the oil. Still, the company’s gross refinery margin of US$7.96/bbl for the two-month period was at the top end of its historical range. Refining NZ’s shares fell 3.3% to NZ$3.24.