1 May 2013

Business confidence in April

7:00 am on 1 May 2013

Business confidence waned slightly in April but is still well above its historical average.

The ANZ's monthly business confidence survey shows a net 32% of firms expect the economy to improve in the coming year, compared with 35% last month and 8% historically.

And 30% of respondents are optimistic their own prospects will improve.

ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie said these are healthy figures and show businesses are encouraged by signs the economy's picking up.

He said the property market is picking up with the benefit of low interest rates and consumer spending also seems to be on an upward trend.

Mr Bagrie said there is the drought, but commodity prices are strong and there is the rebuilding of Christchurch.

He said the economic challenges include a contractionary fiscal policy, the drought and an overvalued New Zealand dollar.

But Mr Bagrie said ultimately business confidence is positive which is essential for it to expand, invest and take on extra workers.

Westpac's survey also found a slight decrease in business confidence in April for the second straight month.

But it said levels are still relatively high with confidence increasing among farmers and in the construction sector.