18 Dec 2012

Consumer confidence up - survey

6:05 am on 18 December 2012

Consumer confidence has jumped to its highest level in more than a year, a survey has found, in a further sign the economy has emerged from its mid-year slump.

The Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence index rose to 111.1 in the three months to December, up nearly 9 points from the September quarter.

Westpac senior economist Felix Delbruck says households are the most upbeat they have been in five years, due to a number of reasons.

"A strong housing market in Auckland, the global economy is not looking as gloomy as it might have done a few months ago, you've got the Canterbury rebuild ramping up, interest rates are really supportive and the exchange rate is high - is probably a contributing factor to households saying it's a good time to buy a big ticket item."

Last week the ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index reported a slight rise of less than a point to 115 in December. A reading above 100 indicates optimism.

Survey respondents were slightly more pessimistic about their own current financial position, but more confident they would be better off in the coming year.

ANZ said the survey suggested consumer caution was being driven by lack of job growth.