Confidence grows – Kiwis keen to spend on bargains
BUSINESSDESK: New Zealand consumer confidence has recovered in the third quarter of the year, with households more willing to buy major household items even as they report a deterioration in their own financial circumstances.
The Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence Index rose to 102.5 for the September quarter from 99.9 in June. A reading above 100 means optimists outnumber pessimists.
The present conditions index recovered to 102.3 from 101.5, while the future conditions index rose to 102.7 from 98.7.
Kiwis who deem it a good time to buy a major household item rose from 20% to 27%, the second-highest since June 2010. Retail spending climbed 1.3% in the three months ended June 30, as consumers spent more on cars and vehicle parts.
"Households are a little less pessimistic for the coming year than in June, but not much, and their assessment of their own finances remains very bleak," Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens says.
"At the same time, people are increasingly saying it's a good time to buy a major household item. We suspect this reflects low prices. Consumers have benefited from the high exchange rate, which has brought down prices for some consumer goods."
In the near term, households are downbeat, with a net 23% expecting mainly bad times in the year ahead, down from the 29% who had a gloomy outlook three months ago. The long-term outlook is more optimistic, with a net 29% seeing mainly better times in five years.
The survey was conducted from September 1-9, with a sample size of 1553 and a margin of error of 2.5%.