17 Mar 2017

Consumer confidence steady for March

6:24 pm on 17 March 2017

Consumer confidence has held relatively steady, which points to good momentum for retail spending.

23062016 Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King. Busy streets in Wellington.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The ANZ - Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index has eased a couple of points to 125.2 in March, after a slight fall the month before.

A reading of more than 100 indicates optimists outnumber pessimists.

A net 13 percent felt better-off financially compared with a year ago, slightly lower than the previous survey.

Optimism has fallen about the outlook for the New Zealand economy, but consumers' views of their own financial situation rose.

ANZ Bank chief economist Cameron Bagrie said consumer sentiment remained robust.

"Indicators for near-term spending suggest retailers should be able to drum up business, with solid consumer confidence readings in step across all regions," he said.

He said a number of things were supporting spending, such as cheap imports from a relatively high New Zealand dollar, plus rising interest rates supporting those with money in the bank.