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. Finance Minister Bill English said there was solid growth across the entire economy, with the quarterly performance among the best in the developed world. "It compares with 0.6 percent in the United States, 0.7 percent in the United Kingdom and Canada, 0.8 percent in Australia and 0.2 percent in Japan," he said. English, whose conservative government faces an election in September, said New Zealand was reaping the benefits of successful fiscal management. "Business and consumer confidence remains high, manufacturing activity has been expanding for almost a year and a half and the current account deficit is less than half of what it was five or six years ago," he said. 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.