Consumer confidence rises

JAMES WEIR
Last updated 16:41 17/01/2013

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Consumer confidence is picking up, especially in Auckland, where optimism is getting a lift from higher property prices.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence measure rose to 118.3 in January from 114.7 in December. A figure above 100 indicates a net positive outlook.

"We are on the right side of the ledger, but a far cry from the lofty heights of 2007," ANZ said.

In the sub-indexes, consumers felt less worse off financially than a year ago, at a net negative 5 per cent compared with negative 7 per cent last month.

People still expect to be better off in a year from now, with a net 29 per cent positive, down slightly from net 31 per cent positive in December.

People also think it is a good time to buy a major household item, at a net 38 per cent positive, the highest reading since 2007.

The survey's current conditions index rose 8 points to 117, while the future conditions index rose barely to 119, its best levels since the middle of 2011.

However, ANZ pointed out that confidence typically rose in January, with "summer, sun and siestas". If that seasonal influence was removed the trend was "stagnant" with headline consumer confidence easing from 115 points to 112.

Beyond the seasonal influences, there was a strong lift in confidence in Auckland, with headline confidence at a two-and-a-half year high at 123 points.

"You need look no further than the sharp lift in property prices for the reason of renewed enthusiasm in Auckland," ANZ said. Wellington was still positive at 111 and Canterbury even better at 120 points.

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