A swell of optimism from the South Island is expected to
drive record business activity throughout New Zealand this
year, the ANZ's quarterly Business Micro Scope survey of small
Retailing, agriculture and manufacturing are leading a lift
in optimism which has seen firms' expectations of their own
activity, hiring and profitability for the coming year soar
to new highs.
ANZ retail and business banking managing director Fred
Ohlsson said rising confidence was sweeping across New
Zealand, further boosting the outlook for businesses and the
economy this year.
Construction and agriculture were caught in the tailwind of
the Canterbury rebuild and the increasing commodity prices.
''But optimism is at or near historic highs across all major
sectors, paving the way for a broad-based uplift in business
activity, employment and economic growth.''
Those factors had come together to create a ''sweet spot''
for the South Island, with optimism in Canterbury spilling
over to the rest of the island whose record-high optimism now
topped that of Canterbury itself, he said.
Although not quite at the same levels, business confidence in
Auckland also entered the new year at a new high.
Highlights from the survey included:
•Confidence at its highest since comparable data was
first collected in 1999, with record numbers of firms
expecting to increase activity, hiring and profitability in
•A net 45% of firms expected to lift business activity
in the coming year, double the long-term average. A net 17%
planned to take on more staff and 29% expected profits to
•Confidence in Canterbury (up from 21% to 27%) was
spilling into the rest of the South Island (up from 21% to
30%) and now led the nation.
•Services was the most upbeat sector at 25%, retailing
recorded the largest lift in confidence followed by
agriculture and manufacturing.
•Agriculture was the top sector for profit
expectations for the first time in two years.