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ANZ Business Micro Scope - March 2014 print Print

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Small business confidence improved for a sixth consecutive quarter to touch a new high in the three months to March, according to ANZ’s quarterly Business Micro Scope survey of small firms.

Small firms stronger for longer 

Sentiment lifted in retail, construction, agriculture and services, with the service sector again topping the survey for confidence.

Firms’ expectations of their own activity, hiring, investment and profitability for the coming year all soared to new highs in March. Optimism remains strong across all regions, rising to record highs in both Auckland and provincial New Zealand.

Fred Ohlsson, ANZ’s Managing Director, Retail & Business Banking, said: “We’re seeing a growing groundswell of business optimism which has now spread across most pockets of the business community. The Canterbury rebuild has helped to spark this upswing but it’s really promising that we are now seeing confidence grow right across the country.

“The rest of the South Island is prospering from the combined flow on from the rebuild and high commodity prices, while prospects in our largest region Auckland have also taken a big step up. This bodes well for a broad-based uplift in business activity, employment and economic growth which will benefit the whole country.”

Read the full report (157kB)

Highlights from the March 2014 ANZ Business Micro Scope survey of small firms:

[Net percentages reflect the balance of sentiment – i.e. positive minus negative responses]

  • Confidence is at its highest since comparable data was first collected in 1999, with record numbers of firms expecting to up activity, hiring, investment and profitability
  • A net +49% of firms expect to lift business activity in the coming year, double the long-term average. A net +17% plan to take on more staff and +33% expect profits to rise.
  • The South Island (excl. Canterbury) is most upbeat (up 1 point to +31%). Auckland firms continue to gain confidence, surpassing last quarter’s record optimism with a new high of +26%.
  • Services is the most upbeat sector, at +29%. Construction recorded the largest lift in confidence (from +21% to +26%) and was top for profitability expectations. 

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