WELLINGTON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - New Zealand's business confidence held close to a 14-year high in October, while companies were a touch more optimistic about their own outlook, an ANZ Bank survey showed on Thursday.
The survey's headline measure of sentiment showed a net 53.2 percent of respondents expected the economy to improve over the year ahead, from a net 54.1 percent optimism level in the previous survey, which had been the highest since March 1999.
The monthly business outlook showed a net 47.1 percent of companies expect their own business to grow in the next 12 months from 45.3 percent in September.
The bank said the survey pointed to broad-based economic expansion, with an implied growth rate of more than 4 percent.
'The New Zealand economy is in a sweet spot,' said ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie.
'While we remain at the mercy of global forces to a degree, localised specifics -- housing shortages, a city rebuild, booming dairy prices, a turnaround in job prospects encouraging less emigration - are delivering considerable pep.'
Inflation expectations for the year ahead, a focus for the central bank, were at 2.38 percent from 2.31 percent.
Earlier on Thursday, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand reconfirmed it expected to start raising its cash rate from a record low 2.5 percent next year, but said the timing and extent would depend on the strong housing and construction markets, and the strength of the currency.
The latest Reuters poll shows economists expect rates to start rising in the first quarter of 2014.
(Gyles Beckford; Editing by Shri Navaratnam) Keywords: NEWZEALAND ECONOMY/CONFIDENCE
(Gyles.Beckford@thomsonreuters.com)(+64 4 802 7977)(Reuters Messaging: email@example.com)
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