16 Sep 2016

Consumer confidence up on housing and dairy prices

7:14 pm on 16 September 2016

A strong housing market, rebounding dairy prices and growing optimism for the long-term economic outlook have lifted consumer confidence to its highest level since January, the ANZ-Roy Morgan index shows.

Various denominations of coins

Money Photo: 123RF

The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index rose four percentage points to 121 in August from July, the strongest level since January.

ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie said the improvement was no surprise given the strength in house prices and pick-up in the dairy sector.

"Consumers are feeling more confident about the future as well as remaining upbeat about the right here and now."

A net 11 percent of respondents said they were better off than this time last year and a net 31 percent said they expected to be better off in the next 12 months, with expectations for house price growth also rising.

Mr Bagrie said the high New Zealand dollar was also keeping a lid on import prices, which was making consumers more willing to buy big-ticket items such as appliances and cars.

"Our confidence composite gauge - combining business and consumer sentiment - continues to flag solid-to-strong GDP (gross domestic product) growth over coming months. Four percent real GDP growth is in prospect," he said.

Official data showed the economy grew 3.6 percent in the year to June, the strongest since the end of 2014.

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