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NZ business confidence lifts as spring looms

NZ business confidence lifts as spring looms, construction bounces back

Aug. 30 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand business confidence rose in August, as construction investment intentions bounced back and firms began feeling a seasonal uplift as spring looms.

A net 20 percent of respondents in National Bank’s Business Outlook expect business conditions to improve over the next 12 months, up from a net 15 percent in July. Companies’ own activity expectations improved, with a net 26 percent expecting more activity in their business in the year ahead, up from24 percent.

“A movement of 5 percentage points is so-so in terms of the signal, but nonetheless we’ll take it as a step in the right direction,” chief economist Cameron Bagrie said in the statement. Still, “stripping out the mild seasonal factor we appear to be flat-lining.”

Export intentions also gained, with a net 16.9 percent expecting to ship greater volumes over the next 12 months, up from 9.1 percent last month.

Investment intentions pulled back with a net 11 percent expecting to invest more, down from 13 percent. Employment intentions also eased, with a net 6 percent plan to take on workers, down from a net 11 percent in July.

The strongest growth came from construction. A net 47 percent of firms expect to spend more on residential construction up from a net 28 percent, and a net 21.9 percent may invest more in commercial construction, up from a net 4.3 percent.

“This offers some hope that the construction sector can help fill the void across the economy in late 2012 and early 2013,” Bagrie said.

Profit expectations rose to 5 percent from 1 percent, which the bank noted was “still marginal.” It described pricing intentions as “tame” with a net 16 percent expecting to raise prices in the year ahead, down from 17.3 percent last month.

Inflation expectations eased to 2.34 percent from 2.55 percent.


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