A net 16 percent of Waikato households expect the region’s economy to strengthen over the coming year, according to the Westpac-McDermott Miller Regional Economic Confidence survey for the December 2018 quarter.
This is up on the net 10 percent posted in the September 2018 quarter.
“Despite a lift, households in the region remain cautious and, together with Auckland, are the least confident in the country. Weaker dairy, meat and forestry prices could well be key considerations. Contagion effects from neighbouring Auckland might also be a factor,” said Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens.
“That said, falling unemployment, an increase in job vacancies and a relatively buoyant housing market are likely to have contributed to the improvement in confidence this quarter.”
The Westpac-McDermott Miller survey also examines consumers’ views on their own economic situation, producing an index that summarises responses to questions including how respondents view their own financial situation, their current willingness to buy a major household item and the outlook for the national economy. The Westpac-McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence Index for Waikato rose from 94 in September to 97 in the December quarter.
“Despite this slight improvement, consumers in the region are still the most pessimistic in the country. They are not particularly happy about their personal financial circumstances and most are pretty gloomy about the prospects for the New Zealand economy,” said Stephens.
“Not surprisingly, fewer of them are in the mood to purchase a large ticket item, which is unlikely to be good news for retailers in the region.”
The survey was conducted over the period December 1-11 2018.