Consumers relatively upbeat in latest confidence index

Low interest rates and a stronger housing market are keeping consumers relatively buoyant.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index was unchanged at 123 in January, sitting around its best level in more than a year.

Consumers were slightly less optimistic about their current position but are slightly more upbeat about the longer term, and more think it's a good time to buy a big-ticket item.

"New Zealand consumers are feeling pretty alright about things at the moment - the labour market remains tight, interest rates are low and the housing market is lifting again," ANZ's chief economist Sharon Zollner said.

She said the lift in the housing market was likely behind the rise in those thinking its a good time to buy a major household item, which in turn would support the retail sector.

The bank's most recent business survey also showed a recovery in sentiment, and Zollner said putting the two together suggested the economy has found a floor after the last year's soft patch.

"While the headwinds facing the economy should not be underestimated, growth should bottom out around the 2 percent mark, unless global risks come to fruition."

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

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