Consumer Confidence at New Highs

11 August 2011 - Which Way to Pay

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Consumer Confidence at New Highs

This August, New Zealand consumer confidence has reached a new 7-month high. Therefore, despite the volatile financial markets, there is reason to believe that Kiwi employment may be picking up and in so doing fuelling people’s appetite to spend.

The news comes from a survey conducted by ANZ Bank. The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence measure rose 3.9 points to 113.3 in August, the highest since 117.1 was reached in January. Furthering this, respondents were almost double as likely to buy a major household item this month with respect to last month’s figure; 33% of respondents deem it a good time to buy. In July, the survey showed a much lesser percentage of 14% (net) respondents financially stable enough to invest in major domestic goods.

The encouraging statistics about the NZ economy build upon good news revealed by the National Bank Business Outlook survey, which showed business confidence rose for the fourth consecutive month in July. The survey also indicated better times may lie ahead with reconstruction works beginning after the Christchurch earthquakes.

In light of the economy growing twice as fast as the expected pace in the first quarter, there is hope that the Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard may not hurry to raise interest rates in response to the global financial market disruptions.

The positive aspects to the ANZ survey outlook were echoed by Khoon Goh, head of market economics and strategy at the bank; "Such resilience in [consumer] confidence suggests that labour market conditions are improving sufficiently for consumers to start feeling more upbeat, or less downbeat, about prospects."

A net 30% expect the economy to improve over the coming five years, however of the 1,048 people surveyed, a net 21% said they were still worse off than a year ago.

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