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NZ business confidence gains as farmers shake off the drought blues

Friday 31st May 2013

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New Zealand business confidence rose for the first time in three months, helped by a rebound in sentiment in the agricultural sector and increasing optimism from construction firms.

A net 42 percent of firms expect general business conditions to improve in the year ahead, according to the ANZ Business Outlook, up from 32 percent in the April survey. Firms seeing a pickup in their own business activity in the year ahead improved to 34 percent from 30.3 percent.

Sentiment in agriculture bounced back ahead of Fonterra's announcement of a steeper-than-expected hike to its forecast 2014 payout to farmers and comes in a month when the trade-weighted index fell about 3.5 percent, extending its slide from a record high in April, and drought earlier in the year broke.

Across all industry groups, a net 19.7 percent of those polled expect to lift profits in the year ahead, a 22-month high. For the farming sector a net 4.2 percent expect to boost profit, a turnaround from the previous month's survey, when more expected earnings to fall.

Construction remained the most optimistic sector, with a net 54.9 percent seeing better times ahead for the economy and 51.6 percent seeing better times within their own business. The services sector wasn't far behind, at 49.4 percent and 36 percent respectively.

Employment intentions remained strongest in the construction sector, with a net 25.8 percent expecting to take on workers, little changed from a month earlier. Overall a net 9.8 percent expected to hire more workers in the year ahead.

Inflation expectations slipped to 2.22 percent from 2.31 percent and pricing intentions were little changed at 20.3 percent.

Export intentions remained weak, with a net 16.7 percent expecting an uplift in the next 12 months.

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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