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NZ consumer confidence ticks up in June

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6 days ago Rebecca Howard
A man stands with his shopping © Carl Court/Getty Images A man stands with his shopping

New Zealand consumer confidence reached its highest level since early 2015 in the June quarter as Kiwis were more upbeat about the economic outlook, but slightly more jittery about the current situation.

The Westpac McDermott Miller consumer confidence index rose 1.5 points to 113.4 in the June quarter, above the long-run average of 111.4.

A reading above 100 indicates optimists outnumber pessimists, and the survey has been above that level since March 2011.

However, the present conditions index slipped 0.7 points to 110.5 while the expected conditions index rose 3.0 points to 115.4.

A net 18.2 per cent of the 1555 people surveyed between June 1 and June 11 expected the economy to improve over the coming year, up from 11.8 per cent in the March period.

A net 18.8 per cent saw better times for the economy over a five-year period, up from 17.8 per cent in March.

"Households have become increasingly confident about the economic outlook," Westpac Banking Corp acting chief economist Michael Gordon said.

However, he noted: "they are a little more nervous about current economic conditions", reflected in softer spending appetites.

The number of households who thought now was a good time to purchase a major household item eased 0.7 points to 19.4 per cent in the June quarter, below the long-run average of 26.3 per cent.

Softening spending appetites likely reflected the rise in borrowing rates over the past year and the related slowdown in the housing market - both of which are key determinants of household spending, Mr Gordon said.

He noted: "such concerns are particularly pronounced in Auckland where the slowdown in the housing market has been most acute".

However, even accounting for concerns about the current spending environment, households remain upbeat about overall economic conditions, he said.

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