Recovery surges ahead - Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion, April 2014 - media release

08 April 2014

New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (Inc)
Media release, 8 April 2014

Embargoed until 10am 8 April 2014

The NZIER Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion

 

Recovery surges ahead as firms remain the most confident in 20 years

Economic activity strengthened in early 2014, according to the NZIER’s March 2014 quarter Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion (QSBO). Trading activity, which closely mirrors GDP growth, accelerated to the fastest pace since December 2003 – when annual GDP growth was near 4.5%.

“While we do not expect economic growth to hit such heady rates in the current business cycle, as credit conditions are very different now, our latest survey paints a clear picture: the recovery is strengthening”, said Shamubeel Eaqub, Principal Economist at NZIER.

Firms are translating optimism into jobs and investment

Business confidence held steady in the March quarter, and remains at the highest level since mid-1994. Optimism and activity is being realised into hiring, investment, increasing margins and profits. Intentions to invest in building, in particular, are soaring and are at the highest level since records began in 1975. 

Regional performance varies

The QSBO shows a broadening recovery across regions, although there are weak spots. Activity is particularly strong in Auckland, Canterbury and much of the South Island. But Northland, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne-Hawkes Bay, and Otago are still contracting according to the QSBO.

Inflation increasing; interest rates to rise

Price increases are accelerating. Firms are finally implementing intended price increases as consumer demand strengthens. Fattening margins and growing sales are boosting profitability. This is consistent with increasing inflation, but also with more investment and a lift in economic activity.

Increased inflationary pressure means more financial services sector firms expect interest rates will rise (a net 87%, up from 69% in December).

Figure 1 A broadening recovery across regions

For further information please contact:
Shamubeel Eaqub
Principal Economist
DDI (04) 470 1810
Mobile 021 573 218
Main (04) 472 1880
Email shamubeel.eaqub@nzier.org.nz

Background

The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research has conducted its Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion since 1961. It is New Zealand’s longest-running business opinion survey. Each quarter we ask around 2,500 firms about whether business conditions will deteriorate, stay the same, or improve. The responses yield information about business trends much faster than official statistics and act as valuable leading indicators about the future state of the New Zealand economy. Long term series derived from the survey are held at the NZIER and are available to NZIER members via our website at www.nzier.org.nz.

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