WELLINGTON, March 21 New Zealand consumer
confidence was marginally softer in March but consumers remained
strongly positive buoyed by the cheery economic outlook despite
the prospect of higher interest rates, a survey showed on
The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index dipped to 132~
from 133 in February. The index touched a seven year high in
A reading above 100 shows optimism, while below indicates
ANZ said sentiment was holding firm in the face of likely
rate rises with stronger house prices, a better labour market,
and reasonable income growth boosting consumers.
The survey showed consumers were a touch more optimistic
about their own financial position, a little less positive about
the 12 month economic outlook, but slightly more positive about
the longer-term outlook.
The number of respondents who believed it was a good time to
buy a major household item eased to 44 percent from 47 percent
the previous month.
Expectations of consumer price inflation eased, with prices
seen rising 3.4 percent over the next two years from 3.5 percent
in the previous survey.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand started its long-awaited
rate tightening cycle last week, raising interest rates by 25
basis points to 2.75 percent, as expected, to counter rising
The bank said it expects to be gradually raising rates over
the next two years, with its forecasts pointing to a cash rate
rising towards 5 percent by the end of 2016.
(Gyles Beckford; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)