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NZ consumer confidence edges up in March, boding well for economic growth

20 Mar 15

New Zealand consumer confidence edged up in March with both current and future measures increasing.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index rose to 124.6 in March from 124 in February. The current conditions index advanced to 123.7 from 123, while the future conditions index gained to 125.3 from 124.6.

"Amidst some volatility from month to month, the underlying message remains one of optimism," ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie said in his report. "Buoyant levels of consumer sentiment in association with business optimism continue to augur well for the economic expansion."

Government figures published yesterday showed the economy grew 3.3 percent in calendar 2014, the fastest pace since 2007, before the global financial crisis. ANZ today said it expects growth of around 3 percent over the year ahead.

The confidence survey of 1,002 people found a net 9 percent of people felt they were better off financially than this time last year, up from 6 percent in February. A net 28 percent expected to be better off financially this time next year, unchanged from last month.

Meanwhile, a net 24 percent expected New Zealand's economy would have good financial times in the next 12 months, unchanged from last month. The country was expected to have continuous good times ahead over the next five years according to a net 24 percent of people surveyed, up from 22 percent last month.

A net 39 percent of people considered it a good time to buy a major household item, down from 40 percent last month.

Respondents said they expect consumer prices to ease to an annual pace of 3.1 percent over the next two years, down from 3.2 percent in February. They predict an annual 4.9 percent rise in house prices over the same period, up from 4.5 percent last month.

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