28 Apr 2010

Business confidence climbs to highest in 11 years

5:00 pm on 28 April 2010

Business companies are feeling their most optimistic about their prospects in more than a decade.

The National Bank's monthly survey shows that firms are most confident when asked about the economy as a whole.

When asked about their own prospects they are less positive, but still more optimistic than at any time in the past 11 years.

Hiring intentions, while still subdued, improved during the month, and are at a five-year high. For the first time since March 2001, more firms are expecting unemployment to fall than rise.

The improving outlook is spread across all firms, with those in the construction industry the most confident.

Confidence in the agricultural sector also improved, despite the drought, but continues to lag other sectors.