25 Feb 2010

Business confidence highest in a decade

6:57 pm on 25 February 2010

Confidence among business firms is at its highest level in a decade.

The National Bank's monthly business outlook survey released on Thursday shows marked improvement in February after three months of falls.

Just over half of respondents (50.1% net) expect better times ahead - that figure's up 11% on December.

Only 7% of the businesses surveyed expect business conditions to deteriorate, while 35% think they will stay the same.

More than 57% expect conditions to improve.

National Bank chief economist Cameron Bagrie says businesses' employment intentions and profit expectations all look good.

Confidence was highest among construction, services and manufacturing firms. Agricultural and retail firms were the most pessimistic about the year ahead.