SYDNEY (Reuters) – Consumer confidence in New Zealand fell in February compared with the prior month as households grappled with higher living costs and rising interest rates amid intense inflationary pressures, ANZ-Roy Morgan data showed on Friday.
The consumer confidence index eased 3 points to 79.8 in February. A reading above 100 shows optimism, while below that indicates pessimism.
“More and more households will roll over onto markedly higher mortgage rates as the year rolls on, creating challenges for the retail and hospitality sectors,” ANZ Chief Economist Sharon Zollner said in a statement.
The proportion of people who believe it is a good time to buy a major household item, a key retail indicator, fell 7 points to -35%, the lowest level since the lockdown in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis.
(Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Chris Reese)