New Zealand Westpac Consumer Survey Rebounds in Second Quarter

Consumer confidence in New Zealand bounced back in the second quarter, reaching its highest level in more than two years, according to Westpac’s latest survey.

The Westpac consumer confidence index climbed 1.5 points to 113.4 in the second quarter, after falling 1.1 points in the first three months of the year. The survey has highlighted a general downtrend in confidence levels since the beginning of 2014.

Westpac’s quarterly survey measures attitudes toward personal finances and economic expectations, which are factors that influence consumer spending.

New Zealand’s economy missed the mark in the first quarter, with output growing less than forecast following a volatile end to 2016. Gross domestic product (GDP) rose at a seasonally adjusted 0.5% in the first quarter, Statistics New Zealand reported last week. Compared to the same period a year ago, GDP expanded 2.5%.

Both figures fell short of expectations, which called for quarterly growth of 0.7% an annual expansion of 2.7%.

Nevertheless, it was the country’s twenty-sixth quarter of expansion. Wellington expects the momentum to continue in coming years, fueled by major infrastructure projects and a growing population.

Household consumption expenditure grew 1.3% on the quarter, official data showed. Consumption was a major driver of domestic growth last year, along with manufacturing, retail and professional services.

In terms of upcoming news, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) will deliver its next policy decision on Thursday. The central bank is widely expected to keep its benchmark interest rate at 1.75%.

Sam Bourgi is a financial market analyst for economiccalendar.com. He has more than six years of progressive experience in economic and financial analysis, research consulting and sectoral analysis. As a published author in government, peer-reviewed, online and industry sources, he has developed a fundamental approach to the financial markets with a broad focus on stock indices, commodities and the technology sector. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Windsor and Master’s degree from McMaster University.