Business confidence on a high

JAMES WEIR
Last updated 12:01 03/02/2014

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Business confidence is starting the year on a high, carrying on the improving trend from last year.

The BNZ survey shows a net 68 per cent of businesses expect the economy to be in better shape in a year. A year ago, the net result was just 32 per cent positive.

Of the more than 540 businesspeople in the survey, just 33 thought the economy would be worse in a year from now.

About 400 expected business to improve and about 100 thought conditions would stay the same.

The survey also showed a net 13.3 per cent were happy that house prices had risen, up from 10.7 per cent two months ago.

Within the survey, construction firms said a building boom was expected and had started, but the expansion was still tentative in the regions.

One building firm said it was gearing up for a busy period which it expected to be better than anything in the last boom of 2005 to 2007 "and maybe even pre-1987".

A Wellington building firm said there had been a steady improvement in housing and apartments, but commercial work was still slow aside from supermarkets.

But commercial construction in Canterbury was suffering from consenting delays, another firm said, with investors concerned about rising costs, compared with getting tenants by offering affordable rents.

The pace of the rebuilding in central Christchurch was "glacial" so one building firm was looking elsewhere.

In line with that, architecture firms reported that they were getting much busier and hitting some staffing problems.

Advertising, media and marketing companies reported a strong increase in spending. Businesses were looking to spend more on promoting and marketing their products, one industry player said.

"Normally this industry is a good barometer of the economy and national mood being buoyant," another advertising company person said.

Accountants said they were busy, with clients becoming more profitable.

Information technology and telecommunications firms reported "overwhelmingly strong" comments- "a very positive sector", BNZ said.

In contrast, comments from the retail and wholesale trade were "amazingly mixed".

"One could not conclude that a generalised surge is under way" BNZ said.

For residential real estate firms, listing numbers were rising, but many comments that stock on the market was not high enough. The market was difficult in Northland, but strong in many other places.

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- Fairfax Media

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