NZ net migration at annual record in August on big inflow, fewer departures

New Zealand’s annual net migration rose to a record in August, exceeding Treasury’s forecasts, and spurred by more migrant arrivals and the ongoing decline of Kiwis leaving for Australia.

The country gained a net 43,500 migrants in the year ended Aug. 31, the highest ever gain, according to Statistics New Zealand. Annual arrivals reached a new high of 103,900, while departures were down 22 percent from the previous year to 60,400. Meanwhile, the net loss of 6,500 people to Australia was the smallest since January 1995.

The Treasury last month revised its own projections in the pre-election fiscal and economic update, predicting net migration to peak at 42,500 in September, from an earlier forecast of 38,100.

The Reserve Bank has been surprised by the “muted” impact New Zealand’s strong net migration has had on house price inflation, which it says hasn’t pushed up property prices as aggressively in the past. That may be down to the composition of those flows, with fewer kiwis leaving for Australia and younger people arriving on temporary working visas.

Today’s figures show the increase of arrivals was led by the arrival of more students, particularly from India, which was the largest source of migrants with a net gain of 8,422 Indians in the year, and more New Zealanders returning from Australia, Statistics NZ said.

New Zealand gained a seasonally adjusted 4,700 net migrants in August, climbing from 4,500 in July and equalling a record net gain in February 2003. There was a net loss of 71 people to Australia in the month, from a net outflow of 79 in July, well below the peak net loss of 4,300 migrants across the Tasman in February 2001.

The number of short-term visitor arrivals fell 1 percent to 188,800 in August from a year earlier. Overseas trips by New Zealanders reached a new August-month high of 208,400 up 2 percent from the previous year. On an annual basis, short-term visitor numbers were up 5.3 percent to 2.8 million in the year ended Aug. 31.

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