Business confidence dipped in ANZ's monthly survey but the expectations of firms about their own activity and their hiring and investment intentions remain strong.
"They are holding on to high levels, consistent with an economy entrenched in a robust and steady economic expansion," said ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie. "We continue to pencil in 3 per cent growth over 2015."
A net 30 per cent of firms expect general business conditions to improve over the next 12 months, down from a net 36 per cent in March. The services sector is the only one in which headline confidence lifted.
But firms' expectations for their own activity - a much better pointer to economic growth - remained lofty, with 51 per cent expecting an increase and only 10 per cent a decrease. The net 41 per cent positive, though down one point from March, was well above the long-term average of 27 per cent, Bagrie said.
Profit expectations dipped four points to a net 26 per cent positive and investment intentions eased three points to a net 22 per cent positive. But employment intentions rose a point to a net 22 per cent positive, a historically high level.
Movements across most of the survey's indicators were small, a sign that it remained a case of business as usual, Bagrie said.
The exception was export intentions, which fell from a net 32 per cent in March to a net 23 per cent expecting volumes to increase.
"That is the high New Zealand dollar delivering a backhand slap," Bagrie said.
"Last month's bounce in sentiment across the agriculture sector proved to be short-lived. Headline confidence for this sector turned negative, as did profit expectations, employment and investment intentions. The prospect of a sharp rebound in the dairy payout is disappearing and cash-flow concerns are mounting."
Pricing intentions, something the Reserve Bank is watching intently, remain soft. A net 23 per cent of firms expect to raise their prices over the next three months, down five percentage points from March.
Inflation expectations were unchanged at 1.8 per cent.
"If such signals are sustained," Bagrie said, "the official cash rate is likely to be headed lower."