NZ consumer confidence unchanged in May, outlook still cautious
New Zealand consumer confidence was unchanged in May from a month earlier, as households remain cautious about spending money.
The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence index was largely unchanged at 113.9 this month from 114 in April. A reading above 100 indicates there are more optimists than pessimists. The Current Conditions index dropped 3.5 points to 108.1, while the Future Conditions index rose two points to 117.7.
"This is respectable but hardly stellar, suggesting a continuation of 'grumpy growth'," Cameron Bagrie, chief economist at ANZ New Zealand, said in his report.
"The trend still looks one of modest improvement, though it is notable that current conditions - the key bellwether of tomorrow's spending trends - remains subdued, and this indicates continued caution on the part of consumers," he said.
Government figures showed local retail sales fell 1.5 percent in the first three months of the year as people spent less at supermarket, grocery stores and on accommodation and fuel after splashing out during the Rugby World Cup last year.
Today's survey showed two of the five sub-segments that make up consumer confidence improved with people feeling more optimistic about the next 12 months and the five years. It is still perceived as a good time to buy a big ticket item, with a net 25 percent of respondents agreeing, though that was down 3 points from a month ago.
Of the 982 people surveyed, a net 8 percent said they were worse off now than a year ago, a deterioration from a net 4 percent of pessimists in April. A net 29 percent expect to be better off in a year compared to a net 30 percent a month earlier, while a net 2 percent are picking better economic conditions in 12 months, compared to a net 3 percent predicting a worse economy a year out.
On a regional basis, sentiment in Wellington posted its fourth monthly rise to a 23-month high on 122.3 points, while confidence in Canterbury rebounded five points to 118.0 points. Aucklander's confidence fell to a four-month low, followed by the remainder of the South Island posting a five-month low.
Males remained more optimistic, up 1 point to 121.1 points. Female confidence fell 4 points to 109.8 points.
Confidence rose across all age groups, led by the 24 to 35 year olds.
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