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Mood belies good economic prospects

"The latest National Bank business confidence survey is of concern because it indicates that people are ignoring the positives which are around, both in the economy at large and in their own businesses," Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

"Both the Reserve Bank and the Treasury are projecting growth of more than four percent in each of the next two years but that is not being reflected in business sentiment.

"Even more curious is that business people seem to be discrediting the evidence of their own firms to become engulfed in negativity.

"A net 19 percent of respondents were still expecting their own businesses to improve over the next 12 months. Yet a net 21 percent said they expected general business conditions to deteriorate.

"It just doesn't add up.

"A closer look at the survey results shows around 85 percent expect real business activity to remain the same or improve, 76.3 percent expect real profits to remain the same or increase and 83 percent expect employment to remain the same or increase," Dr Cullen said.

ENDS

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