New Zealand consumer confidence reaches record levels of optimism

New Zealand consumer confidence has reached new heights with the country feeling the highest level of optimism in three years, according to the latest Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence (MICC).

The biannual survey by Mastercard has upgraded New Zealand’s consumer confidence from neutral to optimistic with a score of 62.2. This is a 6.8 point increase since the previous survey was undertaken six months ago, the first time New Zealand has been classed optimistic since 2014.

The Index, which measures the six month outlook on five economic factors including the economy, employment prospects, regular income prospects, stock market and quality of life, is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 most optimistic, and 50 as neutral.

The latest survey highlighted that New Zealanders are more confident across economic (64.3), employment (64.0), quality of life (52.4) and stock market (56.6) factors. Regular income confidence, the highest measure in the survey, dropped a small 2.1 points to 73.9.

“It’s great to see New Zealand break into the optimistic group of the survey for only the second time since 2010 – although it’s unsurprising considering New Zealand’s economy has been growing robustly in recent times,” says Peter Chisnall, Mastercard country manager for New Zealand and Pacific Islands in a media release.

“We’re seeing strong tourism and migration underpin consumer spending, while the housing shortage and Canterbury rebuild have buoyed building activity. And with annual GDP growth of 3.6%, this is not only historically strong, but in the top tier of growth performance across the developed world,” says Chisnall.

More than a third of Kiwi consumers expressed confidence in their future prospects and sense of health security.

“The labour market remains strong, particularly in Auckland, and we are continuing to enjoy high levels economic and political stability. This contributes to an ongoing stable business and social environment which in turn provides Kiwis with the confidence to seek new opportunities,” adds Chisnall.

Internationally, New Zealand’s consumer confidence score is just below the average for the rest of the Asia Pacific region, which came in with a score of 68.1. Yet the country is still significantly ahead of Australia which is on 46.5.

New Zealand remains ranked 9th overall, while Australia placed 10th out of the 17 surveyed markets.

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