Consumer confidence ‘back to normal’
… Nationally, consumer confidence is bouncing back strongly, after being badly dented by the Canterbury earthquake in February, according to a bank survey. … In the June quarter, the Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence Index jumped 14.1 points from 97.9 to 112. A figure above 100 indicates optimists outnumber pessimists.
The survey was done in the first fortnight of June and included respondents in Christchurch, who were not included in the March-quarter survey.
The survey suggests a modest increase in spending from a very soft base, and that confidence overall remains weaker than in mid-2010, before the economy slowed and the September Canterbury earthquake hit.
Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said yesterday: “After being badly dented by February’s earthquake, New Zealand household confidence has rebounded to more normal levels.
“About as many people now expect good and bad economic times in the year ahead as they did last December. And people’s perceptions of their own financial conditions have continued to improve.”
Financial woes keep growing
People’s confidence in their financial prospects has plummeted just five months out from the general election, with a new poll showing people are worried they will lose their jobs and that things will get worse in the next year.
The Research New Zealand poll is bad news for the government because despite recent surveys showing high levels of business confidence, it appears many New Zealanders do not feel the same way about their own prospects.
Political scientist Bryce Edwards said the results could mean a return to a focus on the economy in the run-up to the election, and a more traditional emphasis on left-right campaigning.
The poll of 503 people aged 18 and over found that the number of people who felt their financial situation had improved in the past year had dropped to just 14%, down from 27% last year. Just under half said their situation had worsened.
Only 23% of people thought their finances would improve in the next 12 months, down from 56% last year.
Workers were worried about their jobs. Last year 76% of respondents felt confident their jobs were secure – this year that had dropped to 65%, described by the researchers as significant.
“What seemed to be an improving trend in 2009 and 2010 has dropped sharply in 2011,” said Research NZ director Emanuel Kalafatelis.
Make of that what you will.