Story image

NZ business confidence rises to 7-month high in March as agriculture sentiment lifts

31 Mar 15

New Zealand business confidence rose to a seven-month high in March, led by improved sentiment in the agricultural sector.

A net 35.8 percent of firms are optimistic about the general economy, up from 34.4 percent last month, according to the ANZ Business Outlook. Agriculture improved the most, with a net 24.1 optimistic, up from 15.2 percent last month, which snapped six consecutive months of pessimism. Still, agriculture remained the least confident sector.

Higher rainfall, which pushed back the threat of widespread drought, and lifts in dairy prices helped buoy agricultural confidence this month. Still, recent declines in dairy prices could weigh on sentiment in the sector next month, ANZ said.

"Kinder weather (or should we say less intense drought conditions) and lifts in dairy prices over late February have been the elixirs," ANZ Bank New Zealand chief economist Cameron Bagrie said. "But the litmus test will come in April, given dairy prices are under renewed pressure."

Firms were more optimistic about their own outlook, with sentiment rising to a net 42.2 percent from 40.9 percent last month.

"Businesses remain very optimistic about their own prospects," Bagrie said. "That's what firms know best and it's therefore the real litmus test, with a strong correlation to GDP growth."

A net 30 percent expect their profits to improve, up from 28.1 percent last month, while firms' export intentions rose to an 11-month high of 32 percent from 23.7 percent last month

A net 28.3 percent expect to raise prices, up from 23.4 percent last month, while those expecting to increase investment rose to 24.8 percent from 22 percent, and those expecting to hire more staff slipped to 20.8 percent from 23.3 percent.

The construction sector was the most upbeat, with a net 50 percent optimistic, up from 39.4 percent last month. The outlook for commercial construction improved, while sentiment towards residential construction softened from its highs, ANZ said.

Inflation expectations were little changed at 1.76 percent from 1.72 percent.

Report finds GCSB in compliance with NZ rights
The Inspector-General has given the GCSB its compliance tick of approval for the fourth year in a row.
Preparing for e-invoicing requirements
The New Zealand and Australian governments are working on a joint approach to create trans-Tasman standards to e-invoicing that’ll make it easier for businesses in both countries work with each other and across the globe
5c more per share: Trade Me bidding war heats up
Another bidder has entered the bidding arena as the potential sale of Trade Me kicks up a notch.
Hootsuite's five social trends marketers should take note of
These trends should keep marketers, customer experience leaders, social media professionals and executives awake at night.
Company-X celebrates ranking on Deloitte's Fast 500 Asia Pacific
Hamilton-based software firm Company-X has landed a spot on Deloitte Technology’s Fast 500 Asia Pacific 2018 ranking - for the second year in a row.
Entrepreneur reactivates business engagement in AU Super funds
10 million workers leave it up to employers to choose their Super fund for them – and the majority of employers are just as passive and unengaged at putting that fund to work.
Tether: The Kiwi startup fighting back against cold, damp homes
“Mould and mildew are the new asbestos. But unlike asbestos, detecting the presence – or conditions that encourage growth – of mould and mildew is nearly impossible."
Capitalising on exponential IT
"Exponential IT must be a way of life, not just an endpoint."