Consumer confidence continues to fall: Westpac

Consumer confidence has continued its downward trend in June, highlighting concerns around personal finance and providing further indication that the New Zealand economy is slowing.

The Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence Index fell in June 0.3 per cent on March’s figures to 103.5 points – 6.9 per cent below the average if 111.2.

“Reinforcing this sense of nervousness among households, recent weeks have seen widespread reports of weakening economic conditions abroad and low business confidence domestically,” the report reads.

“Weakness in the housing market is also likely to be a major factor dampening consumer sentiment.”

According to the report, the amount of households who believe they are better off financially compared to a year ago remains low, and fewer expect things to improve in the next 12 months. Households have also indicated they are scaling back spending on entertainment and dining out to cut back on costs.

The attitude shifts based on age, with those under 30 feeling more upbeat about the economic outlook – reaching a five year high – while those over 30 are less upbeat, and those over 50 are noticeably less confident than other age groups.

“A big part of the reason for this split in confidence across age groups is likely to be developments in the housing market,” the report reads.

“The past year has seen a marked slowdown in house sales and price growth. There have also been a number of regulatory changes affecting the property market, as well as nervousness around the now cancelled capital gains tax.”


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