Businesses less pessimistic about the future

Business confidence has perked up but remains deeply pessimistic.

The ANZ Business Outlook for October shows 42 percent of businesses expect conditions to deteriorate in the year ahead, from last month's 11 year low of 54 percent.

But individual businesses' confidence in their own outlook has fallen for the fifth month in a row with a net 4 percent pessimism level, an 11-year low, with profit expectations and investment intentions improving slightly, but more firms expecting to cut staff.

ANZ chief economist Sharon Zollner said the survey was a mixed bag despite its overall negative tone.

"It appears that the activity indicators are generally finding a floor. It's true that the levels for most indicators remain uninspiring, but it's good to see signs of bottoming out."

The retail sector was the most downbeat, with the weakest own activity, profits, and employment indicators and expectations that their costs will rise, but there was a lift in sentiment in the construction sector.

"All up, we'd take the mixed signals out of this month's survey as a positive sign, as it interrupts a deteriorating trend. It's a start," Zollner said.

The survey suggested the Reserve Bank's half a percentage point cut to official cash rate in August to lower borrowing costs and stimulate spending and investment has had limited effect.

Financial markets expect the RBNZ will cut the cash rate again in two weeks by a quarter of a percentage point to 0.75 percent.

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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