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New Zealand consumer confidence improved for the first time in six months in December, survey data from ANZ showed on Wednesday.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index rose to 98.3 in December from 96.6 in the previous month. However, the index remained well below its long-term average of 120. Perceptions of current personal financial situations fell 3 points to 1 percent. A net 12 percent expects to be better off this time next year, down another 3 points. Although not negative, this was an unusually low reading outside a recession. Further, households are evenly divided on whether it is a good or a bad time to buy a major household item, up 6 points. This is the best retail indicator in the survey.

Perceptions regarding the next year’s economic outlook bounced 8 points to -20 percent. Meanwhile, the five-year outlook fell another point to -1 percent.

House price inflation expectations dropped 0.6 percentage points to 5.3 percent and CPI inflation expectations ticked down -0.1 percentage points to 5.6 percent.

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