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NZ consumer confidence eases in December

Monday 18th December 2017

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New Zealand consumer confidence dipped in December, the third consecutive decline, with both current and future conditions easing slightly. 

The ANZ Roy Morgan consumer confidence index fell to 121.8 this month from 123.7 in November. The current conditions index was at 123.3 versus 124.6 in the prior month, while the future conditions measure was at 120.9 versus 123.2. 

Of the 1,002 respondents, a net 13 percent saw good economic times in the coming 12 months, down from 18 percent in November. A net 22 percent were upbeat over the coming five years, compared to 23 percent a month earlier. 

"Consumers appear to be pretty relaxed in the face of a cooler housing market and a change in government, though a degree of wariness is perhaps starting to creep into the forward-looking responses," ANZ Bank New Zealand senior economist Phill Borkin said in a note.

New Zealand's overheated housing market - considered a risk to financial stability - has slowed over the past year as Reserve Bank restrictions on more highly-leveraged mortgage lending and tighter credit criteria being demanded by banks made it more difficult for borrowers. Also, uncertainty over the new government raised concerns about what impact a new policy regime would have on areas such as housing. 

Today's survey shows a growing number of pessimists on the outlook for consumers' own financial state, with a net 14 percent saying they were better off now than they were a year ago, down from 15 in November, while a net 28 percent predicted they'll be better placed in 12 months' time, down from 29 percent. 

Respondents were slightly less optimistic about buying big-ticket items, with a net 32 percent saying now was a good time to buy versus 34 percent in November. Annual expectations for consumer price inflation over the next two years lifted to an annual 3.5 percent from 3.1 percent in the the prior survey.  

Expectations for house price inflation also rose, with house prices expected to lift 2.4 percent over the next two years, up from 1.5  percent in November. 


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