Business confidence: Business Canterbury Chief Executive Leeann Watson

With all the media coverage of the Government’s 2024 Budget, it is timely to update you on how businesses across Canterbury are feeling right now.

Our most recent Quarterly Canterbury Business Survey, a measure of regional business confidence and economic activity, showed that businesses are hurting.
Some business confidence metrics are at the lowest levels we have seen since February 2023, with nearly 40% of business

Leeann Watson, Chief Executive of Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce

es reporting significant impacts from rising costs, and well over two-thirds bracing for continued cost increases over the next year.

On a net basis, only 19% of businesses are positive about future financial performance, a significant decline from 34% in the previous quarter, and 44% six months ago. Fifty-nine percent of businesses are now worried about consumer demand, an increase from 27% this time last year, likely the reason behind cashflow concerns creeping into the top five.

The flow-on effect is uncertainty, and a smaller appetite to invest and grow; concerning because this is what will bring the economy out of stagnation and even contraction right now.

There is positive news. Seventy-two percent of Canterbury businesses remain confident in their ability to manage disruption, buoyed by an influx of migration and students at the University of Canterbury, a promising winter tourism season, and a resilient primary sector. These factors really do set us apart from other main centres.

For more information on our topical issues and to read our latest survey results, please head to our website

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