New Zealand: Business confidence retreats in February
The ANZ bank business outlook indicator dipped further into pessimistic territory in February, losing more than a half of December’s gains. A net 31.0% of surveyed firms reported that they expect general business conditions to deteriorate in the year ahead (December: 24.1%). In turn, the headline reading remained below the net-0% threshold that separates pessimism from optimism among businesses. February’s 6.9-percentage-points fall reflected reduced investment expectations, lower employment intentions and poorer perception of the availability of credit.
Meanwhile, firms’ positive outlook regarding their own activity—a metric which has a stronger correlation to GDP growth—eased a net 10.5%, after reporting a net 13.6% in December. A sharp deterioration in the activity outlook for the construction sector drove the downturn, despite light improvements in the retail and agricultural sectors.