8 Jun 2011

Improved confidence likely sign of growth to come

7:22 am on 8 June 2011

An economist says conditions are right for record high confidence to translate into growth.

The BNZ Confidence Survey shows a net 57% of respondents expect the economy to be better in a year's time - the most optimistic reading since the survey began five-and-a half years ago.

Confidence was severely dented after February's earthquake, but the BNZ and National Bank confidence surveys have both picked up markedly since then.

BNZ senior economist, Craig Ebert, says the sharp turnaround is testament to the resilience of the economy, which he expects to grow between 4% and 5% in the next year or so.

Mr Ebert says similar signs of confidence appeared early last year but at that stage there was scepticism that it would translate into growth. Now, however, there is more to justify the underlying confidence, such as example strong commodity prices.

The improved sentiment is not being felt across all sectors, with tourism continuing to lag and the retail sector remaining cautious.