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Small business confidence still down, growth prospects show signs of improvement

Small business confidence still down, growth prospects show signs of improvement

The latest ANZ data on small business sentiment shows confidence is still down but growth prospects are showing early signs of improvement.

New Zealand’s largest bank’s composite growth measure – which takes into account small firms’ views on growth indicators including activity, hiring, profit and lagged investment intentions, and is a proxy for GDP growth – improved in all regions of the country, except for Auckland.

The ANZ Business Micro Scope found regulatory requirements and a lack of skilled staff continued to challenge small businesses.

Small business confidence remained low by historical standards in the June quarter, with 36 per cent of firms pessimistic about business conditions, down from 33 per cent recorded in the previous quarter.

While confidence is laggard, investment intentions improved for the third consecutive quarter despite historically low hiring intentions and profit expectations.

All four growth measures remained at the low end of the spectrum in June, pointing to relatively stagnant growth among small businesses.