Confidence in economy rises

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 15:43 25/03/2014

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Confidence in the national economy is about 38 per cent in Marlborough, Nelson, and West Coast households, up 3 percentage points from three months ago, the latest Westpac McDermott Miller Regional Economic Confidence survey says.

Westpac senior economist Anne Boniface said regional economic confidence among top of the South Island households continued to grow and sat above the national average of 37 per cent.

At the same time, households were more positive about their own economic situation, with the consumer confidence index increasing from 116 in December to 120 in March, just below the national average of 121.7.

Ms Boniface said although households were cautious about their current financial position, they had become more confident that things would improve over the coming year.

In most regions, including the top of the South Island, people's assessment of their present financial situation was more upbeat than three months ago, she said.

However they were a bit more cautious about the outlook for their own finances, possibly an indication that rising interest rates were starting to seep into people's consciousness.

It was hard to attribute the overall positivity to anything in particular, but horticulture, viticulture, and forestry were "pretty positive" at the moment, she said.

The survey report said that in the "diverse" Marlborough, Nelson, and West Coast region, economic confidence had continued to steadily improve and was now at its highest level since December 2009.

"With factors such as the second lowest unemployment rate in the country, and a solid outlook for the agriculture, horticulture and viticulture industries, this comes as little surprise."

The survey, carried out under joint sponsorship by the Westpac bank and consulting firm McDermott Miller has been done quarterly since June 1988.

It samples 1594 of all households in permanent private dwellings in New Zealand, and has a margin of error of a maximum of plus or minus 2.5 per cent, at 95 per cent confidence.

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- The Marlborough Express

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