Cost of living: Big businesses struggling despite post-election 'bounce back' for economy, expert says

New Zealand's economy might be seeing a post-election bounce back, but big businesses are still feeling the effect of the cost of living crisis.  

Despite several areas in the economy such as house prices and business confidence improving and the cost of labour easing slightly, the benefits seem to be bypassing big businesses.   

Frances Sweetman, a portfolio manager at Milford Asset Management, said big companies are reporting that they're still feeling the effects of rate rises.  

"We've had people like Fletcher Building continue to be more cautious around their house sales, they're now expecting them 25 percent lower than last year," she told AM on Thursday. 

"We've seen Freightways say they're seeing packages of kind of 5 percent. The Port of Tauranga who do loads of imports saying they're seeing total volumes of 9 percent, so what you're getting from big businesses instead is this ongoing slowing and that pickup in business confidence hasn't flowed through to the real economy yet, so it's just not happening." 

Sweetman isn't sure when things will turn for big businesses saying despite the bounce back it's "such a difficult point for the economy".  

"One of my grandma's favourite phrases was don't try and pick up pennies in front of a bulldozer and the bulldozer that we're trying to deal with is those rising interest rates and people's mortgages, still a lot of people haven't rolled over onto those seven percents that we're seeing now, that hurts and that will continue to weigh," she said.  

"But we're in this weird place where if it doesn't, then we'll just see more rate rises because we still need the economy to slow. It's almost like good news is bad news." 

Sweetman told AM co-host Ryan Bridge she expects a bit of moderation next year.  

"This slowing from these listed companies from these really high levels of performance that they've seen over the last couple of years is actually still a good thing," she said.  

"I think maybe we'll have a bit of a summer hiatus, but I think next year we'll continue to see things moderate."  

Sweetman said the key to turning the fortunes of big businesses around could be migration and a big tourism summer.  

"All signs are that migration is going to continue to boom and it's a great one that you pick up on because that will really help the economy, bringing in more demand and also helping to ease those labour constraints. So that's one thing that could change the story a little bit is that migration and also a really good tourism summer would also really help," she said.  

"So I think that hiatus over summer is real and then the bit that's really weighing on the economy in addition to the interest rate rises is the global economy.  

"We've seen dairy prices come off and that's another big factor, if the global economy turns around, maybe those oil prices come back down, that would also be helpful. So there's a lot of different moving parts but at the moment, the real game in town is those interest rates and inflation."  

It's not all bad news with Sweetman telling AM essential services like electricity and telecommunications companies are reporting "great" results.

Watch the full interview with Frances Sweetman in the video above.