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NZ consumer confidence eases in April

NZN 21/04/2017 Rebecca Howard

New Zealand consumer confidence eased in April, weighed by a slowdown in the property market and growing expectations that interest rates will rise.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index decreased to 121.7 from 125.2 in March, still above the average of 118.

The current conditions index slipped to 123.2 from 125.9 while the future conditions index eased to 120.8 from 124.8.

"A slow-down in the property market, notably in Auckland, is likely to have been a factor,'' said ANZ Bank New Zealand chief economist Cameron Bagrie.

''While price inflation figures are still positive, house prices are down and this impacts perceptions about whether consumers feel better off."

New Zealand's economy has been underpinned by an expanding population, strong tourism, and a buoyant property market stoking consumer spending, while the labour market has remained robust with new jobs being created for the inflow of migrants.

ANZ's composite confidence gauge, which combines the business and consumer indicators, continues to flag good economic momentum, said Mr Bagrie.

Friday's ANZ report showed a net 9 per cent of the 1000 people surveyed said they were better off now than a year ago versus a net 13 per cent in March.

However, a net 33 per cent expect to be in a stronger financial position 12 months from now, compared to 32 per cent a month ago.

More people still see the economy improving this year although the level has eased, with a net 14 per cent predicting better times for the nation over the coming 12 months, compared to 21 per cent in March.

Households were still optimistic about spending with a net 37 per cent saying now was a good time to buy a big-ticket item, down from 38 per cent in March.

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