By Vera Sprothen
SYDNEY--New Zealand businesses were slightly less optimistic in November, but remain committed to their investment and hiring plans, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group said Wednesday.
The latest ANZ Business Outlook shows net share of businesses that are optimistic about the year ahead fell to 20.5% in November, from 24.5% in the previous month.
"That is a small move; it's still the third-highest confidence reading of 2016," said Cameron Bagrie, chief New Zealand economist at ANZ.
"The sun is still shining down when businesses consider the outlook for their own firms," said Mr. Bagrie.
A net 38% of New Zealand companies across all sectors expect better times for their own business--a result that's 10 points abovethe long-run average.
Construction companies are particularly confident: their expectations of future business activity surged to the highest level in 2.5 years, while expectations among agriculture businesses rose to a 20-month high, ANZ said.
The Business Outlook survey also showed that investment intentions were unchanged at above-average levels in November, while employment intentions and profit expectations remain strong. More firms expect the jobless rate to decline than to rise, said ANZ.
ANZ noted, however, that a net 22% of businesses said they have trouble getting credit--the highest level on record.
The bank also cautioned that the survey was undertaken prior to the recent earthquake on New Zealand's South Island.
"We'll wait until next month to see if it causes any rip currents," said Mr. Bagrie. "For now, surf's up as the economy continues to ride historically low interest rates, solid confidence, improving commodityprices and an exchange rate that's taken a quick dip."
-Write to Vera Sprothen at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 29, 2016 19:41 ET (00:41 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.