30 Nov 2018

Consumer confidence on the up

5:03 pm on 30 November 2018

Consumer confidence has bounced back, with the outlook at the strongest level in six months.

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Photo: 123RF

The ANZ Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence index rose 4 points in November to about average levels.

While perceptions about current conditions eased 1 point to 121, there was a big bounce in the future conditions index, which rose 6 points to 117.

"Consumers are feeling pretty resilient," ANZ chief economist Sharon Zollner said.

Sharon Zollner, the chief economist for ANZ Bank in New Zealand.

Sharon Zollner, the chief economist for ANZ Bank in New Zealand. Photo: Supplied

"The proportion thinking it is a good time to buy a major household item is holding up well enough to suggest spenders aren't closing their wallets just yet."

A net 26 percent of consumers expected to be better off financially this time next year, with a net 7 percent expecting economic conditions to improve.

Confidence in Auckland rose 5 points to become the most confident region in the country, which was a marked contrast to business confidence.

Confidence in Wellington dropped 3 points to fall below Auckland, while Canterbury was the weakest.

Ms Zollner said the confidence was good for near-term economic growth, but a degree of prudence was warranted too.

Household debt had flattened off at very high levels of 167 percent of household disposable income.

"Any improvement from here will be a long, slow grind," she said.

"Given high debt levels, consumer retrenchment is certainly a risk that could exacerbate any slowdown, but it is unlikely to be the catalyst for such an event."