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NZ business confidence improves slightly in April

New Zealand business confidence improves slightly in April

The NBNZ business confidence survey improved in April, rising from -57.9 in March to -54.8 in April. The headline index suggests that 54.8% of respondents expect business conditions to deteriorate over the coming year.

Survey respondents still, however, expect that sales may fall over the next year, reaffirming out view that the economic momentum in the Kiwi economy will stall in coming quarters. Firms' own activity expectations also increased, but still remained in negative territory, rising from -6.4 to -3.8, marking the second negative reading since 2006. Only 13 negative readings in firms' own activity expectations have been recorded over the last 20 years and, of these, according to the NBNZ, following the last survey in March, five "were right at the start of the survey in 1988, as the 1987 crash washed through."

Looking at a breakdown of the sub-components of the index, the largest declines were recorded in profits (-30.3%), residential construction (-23.5%) and interest rates (-10.9%). Employment and investment intentions also declined, owing to the still-elevated NZD, surging oil and food prices, a falling equity market. Drought conditions saw the livestock component fall, while rapidly deteriorating housing market conditions saw another decline in commercial construction.

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