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NZ families fret over financial situation, Dun and Bradstreet survey shows

Tuesday 31st July 2012

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New Zealand families have become more concerned about their financial situation, with at least a third saying they'll use credit to cover unaffordable expenses in the coming quarter, according to Dun & Bradstreet's consumer credit expectations survey.

The survey found that 56 percent of kiwi families polled are concerned about their current finances, which is 13 percent higher than for couples with no children. More than a third of families anticipate difficulties meeting their credit commitments.

The survey polls expectations for the July-September quarter. It showed a majority of New Zealanders are shying away from discretionary spending and loan applications. Some 66 percent of kiwis say they're less likely to spend on non-essential items such as entertainment or beauty treatments and for families the figures is almost 70 percent.

D&B said 70 percent of those polled are also less inclined to make a new home loan application and more than 80 percent don't plan to apply for other forms of credit such as credit and debit cards, personal loans, mobile phones and pay-television subscriptions.

"Consumers are certainly feeling the pinch, with sentiment adversely impacted by economic and political uncertainties in the troubled euro zone, along with softer domestic conditions," D&B New Zealand manager John Scott said in the statement.

"We see this reflected in a significant proportion of families expressing concern over the present financial state," he said. "This is no doubt having a knock-on effect on how likely they are to pay their credit commitments down the track."

Some 36 percent of families expect to use credit to cover unaffordable expenses in the coming quarter.

"We are seeing vulnerable consumer demographics rely on credit cards to meet basic expenses, which can result in an accumulation of bad debt many will struggle to pay down, or even worse, a black mark on their personal credit history," Scott said.

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