Consumers less optimistic about current financial situation, latest confidence index shows

Consumers are less optimistic about the current financial situation but are more upbeat about the longer term, recently released data showed.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index was unchanged at 123 in January, with consumers’ perceptions of their current position falling 8 points. A net 11 per cent feel financially better off a year ago.

The current conditions index fell two points to 130, while the future conditions index was unchanged at 118.

A net 30 per cent of consumers expect to be better off financially this time next year, unchanged from December. A net 49 per cent think it’s a good time to buy a major household item, up 5 points.

Perceptions regarding the next year’s economic outlook rose one more point to a net 10 per cent expecting conditions to improve, well off its low of -10 per cent in September. The five-year outlook eased two points to +13 per cent.

Confidence rose in two of the five regions, most sharply in the North Island outside of Auckland. Wellington remains the most optimistic region and Canterbury the least.

House price inflation expectations lifted in Auckland and other North Island centres, but eased a touch elsewhere. The regions remain stronger than the main centres. The national average rose 0.3 per cent points to 4.4 per cent year over year, the strongest since May 2017. General inflation expectations rose to 3.7 per cent.

“New Zealand consumers are feeling pretty alright about things at the moment – the labour market remains tight, interest rates are low and the housing market is lifting again,” according to Roy Morgan. “While the latter is certainly not good news for everyone, it does tend to provide a bit of buzz on Main Street.”

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