NZ consumer confidence eases to six-month low
By Rebecca Howard
May 31 (BusinessDesk) - Consumer confidence eased in May to a six-month low but continues to hover around the historical average.
The latest ANZ-Roy Morgan survey of consumer confidence fell 4 points in May to 119.3, but remained above the neutral 100-point level and just below the historical average of 120.0. It was the lowest level since November.
Perceptions of current conditions fell 3.6 points to 126.2. The future conditions index was down 4.7 points to 114.7
People's perceptions of their current financial situation fell 4 points to a net 10 percent feeling financially better off than a year ago, also the lowest since November. A net 23 percent of consumers expect to be better off financially in a year's time, down from 30 in the prior survey.
“Consumer confidence is holding up pretty well in the face of housing market softness in Auckland and Christchurch, and a cooling economy more broadly. This resilience likely primarily reflects the strong labour market – and now, markedly lower mortgage rates,” said ANZ senior economist Miles Workman.
Workman said that a net 43 percent still think it's a good time to buy a major household item, down 3 points.
“A high proportion of people still think it’s a good time to buy a major household item, which history suggests will be supportive of spending in the near term" said Workman.
ANZ’s composite index of both consumer and business sentiment has started to lift off its lows "consistent with our expectation that economic growth will find a floor mid-year," said Workman.
Earlier this week, ANZ said a net 32 percent of the 364 respondents to its business outlook survey expect general business conditions will deteriorate during the coming year, versus 37.5 percent in April.
Regarding expectations for firms' own activity, a net 8.5 percent anticipate an improvement, compared to 7.1 percent a month earlier.