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NBNZ Business Survey - September 2001

Data Flash (New Zealand)

NZ: NBNZ Business Survey - September 2001

Embargoed until 1am 28 September 2001, NZT

92% of responses were received prior to 11 September and showed a decline in business confidence from +23% (net respondents) to +13%. Adjusting for the usual seasonal pattern, confidence remained unchanged from the previous month at around +23%.

The remainder of the sample (8%) was received after the US events and showed a significantly higher degree of pessimism, with confidence at -2%, or +13% in seasonally adjusted terms. The NBNZ decided to ignore the post-attack sample in order to present a `clean' survey of the level of pre-attack confidence.

Firms' expectations regarding their own activity prospects had remained high at + 39%, which corresponds to around 4% GDP growth (see chart). Consistent with that, investment intentions firmed somewhat (see table below) and employment intentions remained at a level compatible with recent trend growth in employment.

Pricing intentions moderated further, although inflation expectations remained unchanged at 2.9%. Both indicators are likely to show an increase in the next survey, reflecting the renewed weakness of the NZD. We expect confidence in the next survey (sampled around 10 October) to fall from +13% to around -10%, with a somewhat smaller decline in firms' expectation for their own trading conditions. The Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion (QSBO), which will be published in mid-October, is likely to show similar results.

Such a drop in confidence would provide ex-post justification for the RBNZ's swift 50 bps response to the 11 September events and would support another rate cut on 14 November.

Ulf Schoefisch, Chief Economist, New Zealand

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