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Businesses chipper about the year ahead

Businesses chipper about the year ahead
The economic recovery is picking up pace despite ongoing global jitters, as evidenced by a host of recent confidence surveys.

The economic recovery is picking up pace despite ongoing global jitters, as evidenced by a host of recent confidence surveys.

The monthly BNZ Confidence Survey revealed a sizeable lift in confidence about the state of the economy in a year’s time, with a net 36 percent of respondents expecting the economy to be in better shape in a year’s time. That was up from 22 percent in August and 45 percent in July.

However, while hopes are high for stronger economic activity next year, BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander said the tone of comments submitted by respondents about current conditions in their sectors remain largely downbeat.

"One theme running through the responses is that some business activity has been put on hold ahead of the Rugby World Cup and other activity is expected to be similarly sidelined until the competition is over.

"Overall margins still appear tight, and while there is concern from exporters about the exchange rate it is not as strong as one might expect," he said.

Meanwhile, Business NZ's September planning forecast pointed to a similarly chipper outlook. The overall Economic Conditions Index (a measure of the major economic indicators) was at 19 for the September quarter, up four from the previous quarter and up 32 on a year ago.

Both the manufacturing and agricultural sectors were showing relatively strong growth, and high commodity prices across the board boded well for stronger regional growth.

The recent National Bank Business Outlook also showed a third of businesses projecting better times for the economy over the coming year.

When it came to expectations for their own companies, 43 percent expected better times ahead, above the historical average of 26.

Sentiment was up in retailing, agriculture, construction and services but down in manufacturing.