27 Oct 2011

Business confidence down again

7:15 pm on 27 October 2011

Business confidence is down for a third successive month.

The National Bank's monthly survey of business sentiment found optimists continue to outnumber pessimists this month, with a net 26% of firms expecting their own business to grow in the next year.

That compares with a net 35% expecting an improvement last month.

But only a net 2% expect higher profits, compared with a net 15% last month, which National Bank says does not not augur well for investment and employment plans.

Nevertheless, investment and employment intentions eased only slightly, while the survey indicates growth of 3.5% over the coming year.

National Bank says the economy still has a reasonable amount of momentum, and remains surprisingly resilient despite Europe's debt crisis, stuttering global growth and financial market turbulence.

Inflation expectations also eased again.

The Reserve Bank is expected to leave the Official Cash Rate on hold at 2.5% on Thursday.

Overall, the survey shows a net 13% of respondents expect the economy to improve over the next year, down from a net 30% expecting better times ahead.