People in mood to spend

Consumer sentiment remains elevated, recovering ground in June. Even a fall in job advertisements in May was not enough to cause pessimism.

Two sets of data released by ANZ remain on the positive side of the ledger, although the number of job advertisements fell 5.2% in May, the biggest monthly fall since late 2010.

ANZ senior economist Sharon Zoller put the fall in context - it followed four months of rises.

''An upward trend remains in place but it is no longer accelerating. It's too early to tell if recent interest rate hikes may have put firms in wait-and-see mode.''

Internet advertising fell 5.6% from April and newspaper advertisements eased 2%, she said.

The level of internet job advertising is 14% higher than a year ago. Newspaper advertisements continue to lose market share and were down 7.7% versus May last year.

On a regional basis, newspaper advertising data was volatile and it was best to look at a three-month rolling average, Ms Zoller said.

Despite the bias, the relative regional story was still informative.

The annual change in the three-month measure continued to be strongest in Auckland, with Otago the next best performer. Waikato and Manawatu remained the laggards. The Otago Daily Times contributed to the survey.

Auckland led the way with combined newspaper and internet advertising, which was now 10.5% higher than May last year. Wellington job advertisements fell 10.6% in May to be 2.3% lower than a year ago.

Canterbury advertisements continued to be ''extremely volatile'' and were skewed towards construction.

They fell 1.7% but were nearly 8% higher than last May, confirming the Canterbury job market was strong as the rebuild effort continued, Ms Zoller said.

''Despite the large fall in May, job ads remain on the right side of the ledger, signalling ongoing incremental falls in the employment rate,'' she said.

ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie said the ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence index rose four points to 132 in June.

''We never want to read too much into one month of data. But we're in an environment where interest rates have moved up - with expectations of more rises to come.''

Inflation was low and no-one liked it when the cost of living went up, Mr Bagrie said.

Global financial conditions continued to support asset prices. And higher interest rates were positive for depositors.

There was a consistent story across the five questions ANZ used to gauge household sentiment and the results were: ''Times are good,'' he said.

Households felt better off compared with a year ago and still considered it a great time to buy a major household item.

''Those two questions comprise our current conditions measure and, at 128, it's rock solid.''

Indicators remained elevated with the future conditions barometer tracking at 135.

All measures, headline sentiment, current and future conditions, were well above of the 100 benchmark, something a ''break-even mark'' for wallets being opened, Mr Bagrie said.


At a glance

• Consumer sentiment remains elevated
• Wallets being opened
• Job advertisements fall after four months of rises
• Otago job advertisements still high


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