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New Zealand Consumer Confidence Unchanged in April

New Zealand consumer confidence was unchanged in April, adding to signs the economy’s recovery will be gradual as households contain spending.

Confidence was 121.9 this month compared with 121.8 in March, according to an index compiled by Roy Morgan Research and ANZ National Bank Ltd. While consumers are more confident about future conditions, they were less optimistic about the current environment, Wellington-based ANZ said in an e-mailed statement.

Retail spending and the housing market slowed in the first quarter as record-high unemployment prompted consumers to reduce their borrowing. Finance Minister Bill English today said the recovery from last year’s recession will be “patchy” because household finances are stretched.

“Current conditions remains consistent with subdued spending,” Khoon Goh, senior markets economist at ANZ National, said in the statement. “The large gap between consumers’ view of current conditions versus current conditions shows little sign of abating, pointing to a more sedate recovery relative to historical experience.”

The poll of 1,015 people was conducted between April 1 and April 15. An index level above 100 shows more people are optimistic than pessimistic.

A measure of current conditions, which assesses how consumers feel about their financial position compared to a year ago and whether it is a good time to buy a major household item, fell to 102.3 from 104.9.

A second gauge of future conditions rose to 135.1 from 133.1 in March as more consumers said they expect to be better off in a year’s time, today’s report showed.

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