Kiwis' money worries are at the lowest level in two years and
are expected to continue improving this year, according to a
report by a credit agency.
Dun & Bradstreet's Consumer Financial Stress Index hit
-5.6 points in March, down from 7.5 points the same time last
Anything below zero shows lower financial stress.
Dennis Martin, managing director of Dun & Bradstreet said
New Zealand's healthy economic conditions were behind the
"With good news on the economy continuing to circulate during
the first quarter of the year we're seeing consumer optimism
consolidate and financial stress ease.
"Falling unemployment and confidence in jobs growth are
supporting consumers' willingness and ability to spend, while
the booming property and share markets are lifting household
Martin said while rising interest interest rates would temper
borrowing and spending he expected the healthy job market and
strong economy to continue driving financial stress levels
"While consumers appear set to face additional interest rate
increases this year, which will place some strain on their
debt repayments, we forecast that stress levels will continue
to ease through to the middle of this year."
The credit rating agency index also found New Zealand was
doing better than Australia.
New Zealand's financial stress index was 20 points below the
Australian index which hit 18.6 points in March.
Martin said although Australia's economic fundamentals
remained sound its rising level of unemployment was being
reflected in the financial stress index.
- By Tamsyn Parker of the New Zealand Herald