Business outlook stabilises as recession nears

After dropping to approximately -60 per cent in March, ANZ’s business outlook report has shown a rebound in business confidence to -34 per cent.

The “vigorous” bounce out of the lockdown shouldn’t be misinterpreted, ANZ wrote, as while New Zealand is the envy of the world in terms of how it has handled the pandemic the country is entering its first recession in a decade.

“New Zealand with a closed border is a much smaller economy, at least in the near term, and the recession is just starting to make itself felt,” ANZ wrote.

“The outlook of the labour market is of particular concern at the moment, with the pressures from the loss of international tourism particularly pronounced for people-centric industries of tourism, hospitality and retail.”

Nearly half of survey respondents signaled an intention to lay off staff, and a many said they already had down-scaled their workforce.

The biggest concern for business’ has become low turnover, up from roughly 5th place in December. Following low sales, frustrations with regulation and paperwork and competition from other businesses both grew during the pandemic.

Additionally, while New Zealand’s retail sector has seen a lift in sentiment and spend following lockdown measures kept customers at bay, the truth is that is likely caused by people wanted to spend “involuntary savings” made through the lockdown period, wrote ANZ.


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