New Zealand business confidence improved in March as the worst fears about the impact of Omicron waned, survey results from ANZ showed on Wednesday.
The business sentiment index rose to -41.9 in March from -51.8 in February. At the same time, the own activity outlook indicator came in at +3.3, up from -2.2 a month ago.
Activity indicators generally lifted slightly across the board, with the marked exception of residential building intentions, the survey showed. Consistent with the sharp turn evident in house sales data, the residential construction intentions slid to -26.9 from -5.0.
The export intentions index advanced to 7.9 from 0.9 and the indicator for investment intentions climbed to 5.2 from 4.5.
The employment intentions gauge moved up to 12.3 from 2.3, and the profit expectations index came in at -27.1 versus -32.7 in the previous month.
A net 96 percent of firms report that they expect higher costs. The survey revealed that pricing intentions took yet another meaningful leg higher to a net
81 percent in March.
Inflation pressures increased further, with the commodity price impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine giving pressures fresh impetus. Inflation expectations rose 0.3 percentage points to a new record high of 5.5 percent.