News from ANZ
Wellington has extended its lead as the nation’s most upbeat region, according to ANZ’s quarterly Business Micro Scope survey of small firms, which reports that confidence among small businesses has surged to an 11-year high.
Profit expectations in the September quarter reached levels not seen for more than 12 years as small firms prepare to take on more staff and lift investment for an expected uplift in business activity.
Fred Ohlsson, ANZ’s Managing Director, Retail and Business Banking, said: “A rising tide of confidence is driving new activity as prospects improve for small businesses.
“Sentiment is strong across New Zealand, with a particularly large jump in Auckland.
“However, Wellington has held on to its ranking as the confidence Capital and we’re now seeing that confidence broadening and strengthening. Not even the earthquakes in July and August were able to shake this growing self-belief. “Construction remains the most upbeat sector nationally and this optimism looks set to continue as the rebuild in Canterbury gears up.
“These findings mirror what we’re hearing from customers: the improving economy and rising confidence mean many now believe the time is right to grow their businesses. That’s great for business, great for employment and very promising for the New Zealand economy,” Mr Ohlsson said.
Highlights from the Sept 2013 ANZ Business Micro Scope survey of small firms:
[Net percentages reflect the balance of sentiment – i.e. positive minus negative responses]
Business sentiment stepped up sharply across the board, with more firms planning to up activity, hiring, investment and profitability in the next year.
Wellington (at +26%, up from +22% in June) is the most optimistic region, followed by Canterbury and the rest of the South Island. Auckland lifted to +19%, from +14%.
Own activity and profit expectations rose to 11-year and 12-year highs respectively. Hiring intentions rose to their highest in over eight years, reaching record levels among intermediate-sized firms (with 6-20 staff). Investment intentions also hit an eight-year high, with micro-sized firms (up to 5 staff) leading the way with a new record high.
Construction is the most upbeat sector for the fourth quarter in a row, with Services making the largest gain (from +18% to a record high of +22%) in the latest quarter. Retail recorded its fourth consecutive lift in confidence.