Kiwi consumer confidence remained upbeat in July

By Paul McBeth

Kiwis were more optimistic about their own fortunes. Photo / Michael Craig
Kiwis were more optimistic about their own fortunes. Photo / Michael Craig

Net 29% of respondents expect to be better off financially in a year's time.
Net 36% think it's a good time to buy a major household item.
Net 13% see more good times over a five-year horizon.

New Zealand consumer confidence remained upbeat in July as Kiwis were more optimistic about their own fortunes than they were for the broader economy.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index slipped to 118.2 last month from 118.9 in June, though a net 29 per cent of respondents expect to be better off financially in a year's time, compared to 24 per cent a month earlier.

They were less optimistic about their 12-month outlook for the economy, with a net 4 per cent expecting good times ahead, down from 9 per cent in June, while over a five-year horizon a net 13 per cent see more good times, compared to 16 per cent.

The current conditions index slipped 0.2 of a point to 122.5 while the future conditions index decreased 0.9 of a point to 115.5.

"The mix to growth (more borrow and spend) is becoming increasingly lopsided but we'll take it for now," ANZ Bank New Zealand chief economist Cameron Bagrie said in a note.

"While we are seeing clear exuberance on some levels (housing, credit growth), reasonable (as opposed to exuberant) levels of consumer sentiment suggest a degree of caution nonetheless in terms of blowing all the loot."

Government figures this week showed retail spending on credit and debit cards rose 1.2 per cent in June. Consumer spending has been underpinned by record net migration inflows and high numbers of tourists coming to New Zealand, which has helped make up for anaemic economic growth on a per capita basis.

The survey of 1,000 people showed a net 36 per cent of respondents think it's a good time to buy a major household item, unchanged from a month earlier, while inflation expectations eased to 3.3 per cent annual pace from 3.8 per cent in June.

The mix to growth (more borrow and spend) is becoming increasingly lopsided but we'll take it for now
Cameron Bagrie, ANZ Bank chief economist

Consumer price figures are set to be released next week and will likely show inflation rose 0.5 per cent in the June quarter. Inflation has been tracking below the Reserve Bank's target band of 1-3 per cent since late 2014, though skills shortages are emerging in the building sector which could start driving up wages.

ANZ Bank New Zealand chief economist Cameron Bagrie. Photo / Ross Setford
ANZ Bank New Zealand chief economist Cameron Bagrie. Photo / Ross Setford

ANZ's Bagrie said the labour market was still improving and with more jobs being advertised and shortages appearing, wages should start moving up.

Respondents expect house prices to keep rising, with consumers predicting an annual increase of 6.1 per cent over the next two years, up from 6 per cent in June.

- BusinessDesk

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