2 Dec 2020

Covid-19: Economic effects expected to endure in New Zealand

7:29 pm on 2 December 2020

New Zealand businesses expect the economic effects of Covid-19 to affect them for longer than their global counterparts do.

The usually bustling Queen Street in Auckland during level 3 lockdown.

The usually bustling Queen Street in Auckland during level 3 lockdown. Photo: RNZ / Amy Williams

A global survey by HSBC bank showed nearly two-thirds of local firms were doubtful they would return to pre-Covid levels of profitability in the next year.

That compared with 55 percent of businesses globally.

The survey showed local firms were also less optimistic about the prospect of sales growth in the next 12 months.

HSBC interim chief executive Rob Roughan said New Zealand businesses had performed well given that firms overseas were able to trade normally throughout the pandemic.

"Eight percent of the New Zealand corporates that we spoke to and surveyed have already returned to profit, they're more profitable than they were pre-Covid."

"Twenty-eight percent expect to recover their pre-Covid level of profitability by the end of next year, so I think 36 percent is an encouraging number given the severity of the lockdown we underwent in New Zealand."

Where New Zealand firms differed significantly from their global counterparts was the belief a good work culture was key to a successful business.

This was the top priority of 40 percent of New Zealand respondents compared with just a quarter of businesses surveyed overseas.

"I think business leaders here are clearly defining success beyond the more traditional bottom line, I think Covid and the public health side has put into stark relief employees very health and their wellbeing."

He said it was an encouraging sign that work place culture was the measure of success among local business leaders.

HSBC surveyed 10,000 businesses in 39 countries.

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