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Cullen - Confidence rebound welcomed

The rebound in confidence recorded in the National Bank's August survey was welcomed this morning by Finance Minister Michael Cullen.

"Most encouraging is the finding that a net 16 percent of respondents now expect their own businesses to increase in activity over the next 12 months. This is a sharp turnaround on two months ago.

"A net 14 percent are still pessimistic about the general business environment but - again - this is vastly improved on the last two months. In July the pessimists outnumbered the optimists by 36 percent, in June by 56 percent.

"The steady improvement in business sentiment reflects strong corporate profits and solid growth in the export sector and in tourism.

"There have also been a series of positive economic announcements in recent times.

"Trade New Zealand expects the stimulus created by the new $80 million superyacht facility in Whangarei to double the size of our marine export industry within the next three years.

"Ravensdown Fertiliser in Christchurch achieved record sales in the year to May. Ports of Auckland reported an increase in net profits of almost a third over last year; Port of Tauranga was up 9 percent to $19.65 million.

"These results point to strong fundamentals which should help to offset the impact of rising petrol prices.

"It is also worth noting that the huge majority of the survey responses were in before August 16 so did not capture the Reserve Bank's August 16 decision to hold the official cash rate, or the later reduction by the National Bank in its mortgage lending rates.

"Both developments would normally be expected to be good for confidence," Dr Cullen said.

ENDS


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