30 Sep 2011

Businesses remain optimistic

7:04 pm on 30 September 2011

Business confidence has retreated from earlier highs, but firms are still optimistic about their prospects for 2012.

The National Bank of New Zealand's monthly business outlook shows a net 35% of companies expect their own business to grow in the next 12 months compared with a 43% optimism level in August.

A net 30% of respondents expect the economy to improve, down four points on August figures.

National Bank economist Camron Bagrie says New Zealand is bucking the trend of deteriorating sentiment globally.

Speaking on Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme, Mr Bagrie said he would have expected a reasonable decline in business confidence, but seeing it holding in where it is in the survey suggests there is an element of resilience across the New Zealand economy that is encouraging.

Mr Bagrie says while New Zealand businesses may be mindful of what is going on internationally, they seem to feel "somewhat disconnected" relative to the general trends overseas.

He says the million dollar question is how much of this confidence can be attributed to the Rugby World Cup as a "near-term support factor" that will eventually dissipate versus underlying real substance - in other words, is New Zealand truly different from what's happening globally.