NZ business confidence rises to new 5-year high, firms see higher profits, more hiring
New Zealand business confidence climbed to a new five-year high, with construction firms still the most upbeat on profits, hiring and investments.
A net 54 percent of firms expect general business conditions to improve in the year ahead, up from 48.1 percent in August and the highest since March 1999, according to the ANZ Business Outlook survey. Firms seeing a pickup in their own business activity in the year ahead rose to a net 45 percent from 43.3 percent.
The construction sector was the most bullish about the outlook for the economy, though the proportion seeing better times ahead slipped back to 68.2 percent from 71.9 percent in August and own activity outlook fell back to 41 percent from 68.8 percent. By contrast, the services sector improved on both measures, to 63 percent and 53.8 percent respectively.
Building firms were more upbeat about profits, with 50 percent seeing an increase in the year ahead, up from 43.8 percent in last month's survey. But expectations for residential and commercial construction both slipped
Increased profit expectations across all sectors jumped to a net 33.5 percent, a 14-year high, from 25 percent in August.
"We're long past recovery," said Cameron Bagrie, chief economist at ANZ New Zealand. "It's a strong picture across the board, both by sector and region."
Export intentions slipped a tad, with a net23.2 percent seeing a pickup in the year ahead, down from 24.1 percent in August, perhaps indicating the impact of a continuing high kiwi dollar.
Hiring intentions edged up to 18.8 percent from 18.1 percent. A net 20.4 percent of firms surveyed expect to increase investment in the year ahead, up from 17.3 percent in August.
Inflation expectations remained relatively subdued, at 2.31 percent in the year ahead, down from 2.33 percent in August. Still, pricing expectations rose to 29.9 percent from 28.6 percent.
"The inflationary risks are starting to look one sided," Bagrie said. "We're seeing more of a drift upwards in pricing expectations."
That was led by the construction sector in the latest month, with a net 54.5 percent expecting to raise prices, up from 43.8 percent in last month's survey.