9 Jul 2020

Economic activity and business confidence bouncing back

5:16 pm on 9 July 2020

Two surveys from ANZ show business confidence and economic activity have rebounded, but uncertainty about the future remains extreme.

AUCKLAND, NZ - MAY 29:Traffic on Queen street  on May 29 2013.It's a major commercial thoroughfare in the Auckland CBD, New Zealand's main population center.

Photo: 123rf.com

ANZ's preliminary monthly survey showed headline confidence lifted to a net negative 29.8 percent from 34.4 percent in June.

The more closely followed measure of firms' view of their own future improved by 19 points, with only a net 6.8 percent saying activity will get worse in the year ahead.

There was also a significant jump in sentiment about employment in the near-term, with a net 15 percent of firms expect to cut jobs, versus 35 percent last month.

ANZ senior economist Miles Workman said the country enjoyed a sharp bounce out of lockdown, with all forward-looking indicators lifting.

However, he warned the brunt of the brunt of the recession is still yet to hit.

"There is still some significant headwinds in the outlook with a tourism-sized hole in the economy expected to persist but also higher unemployment and weak business confidence still flowing through.

"That's going to make the medium-term recover still a challenge."

Workman said uncertainty about the outlook remains extreme.

Meanwhile, ANZ's tracking of freight movement showed economic activity was back nearly back to levels seen a year ago.

The bank's monthly Truckometer index uses transport movement as a guide to the economy.

Heavy traffic rose 14.5 percent in June, compared to May, and light traffic was up 28 percent.

ANZ economist Liz Kendall said the figures reflect confirmation of a post-lockdown bounce but its likely traffic volumes will settle down in the coming months.

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