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Tara-ā-Umanga Business Expectations Survey: Survey design and development

Information on the design and development of Tara-ā-Umanga Business expectations survey.

Towards a three-survey approach to measuring expectations

Estimates of inflation and other macroeconomic expectations are used as a key information source by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to inform appropriate settings for monetary policy. 

Tara-ā-Umanga Business expectations survey is an expansion of our knowledge about inflation and other macroeconomic expectations. 

This will make a third Reserve Bank expectations survey, alongside our household survey of expectations, Tara-ā-Whare – which we have run since 1995 and recently redeveloped in 2022 – and our longstanding Survey of Expectations – run quarterly since the third quarter of 1987 – which focuses on the views of experts, such as professional forecasters.

Ensuring data quality is fit-for-purpose

We have been running the Survey of Expectations since 1987, but the original sample size of around 200 respondents has declined in recent years to less than 40 in 2024. 

Our investment in an industry-wide survey will create a representative business survey, eliciting short-, medium-, and long-term inflation, employment, and wage expectations. The survey timeframe is specifically designed to synchronise with MPC meeting cycles, ensuring the committee has near real-time expectations data. The survey will also provide evidence to support decision-making across many aspects of our mandate, beyond monetary policy.

Development progress to-date

We have been testing our plans to enhance our understanding of businesses’ macroeconomic expectations in two ways: (i) Public Consultation in March 2024; and (ii) Pilot Survey in April 2024. 

A second pilot to build toward full sample size

To build on the success of the first pilot we will conduct a second pilot during July 2024, with a selected sample size of about 2,000 businesses – a four-fold increase on the first pilot sample size. The intention is to continue building the sample size over subsequent quarters to a target cross-sectional responding (achieved) sample size of over 400 businesses each quarter.

A survey of national importance

Tara-ā-Umanga Business Expectations Survey is a representative survey of national importance. Survey data will be used to create summary statistics for the Monetary Policy Committee to inform appropriate settings for monetary policy. 
 
Sound monetary policy, well-informed by high quality data, is good for everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand by avoiding big swings in economic activity and supporting price stability. 

Watch Chief Economist, Paul Conway, explain the importance of the survey

Kia ora I’m Paul Conway, Chief Economist at Te Pūtea Matua - the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. I’m here with my colleague Matt Haigh, Director of Data, Statistics and Analytics, and we are going to explain why expectations matter and how we are improving our measurement of business expectations. in the New Zealand economy.
 
So why do inflation expectations matter for the Reserve Bank?
 
Well, first of all, knowing what people think will happen to inflation in the future is important to us for achieving our objective of low and stable inflation. Because if workers, businesses and other decision makers think that inflation will be within our target, which is between 1-3% in future, they will be less likely to put up prices or make overly large wage claims now.
 
Households would also be less willing to accept large price increases and therefore more likely to shop around, which would make it harder for businesses to increase prices.
 
So sound monetary policy informed by high quality data such as for inflation expectations helps us avoid big swings in economic activity and supports price stability. This is good for everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand.
 
So why survey the business community about their economic expectations? We already have really good information on inflation expectations for many groups in society.
 
Our Tara-ā-Whare - household survey of expectations, provides rich quarterly insights from around 1000 households of consumers, homeowners, renters and wage earners.
 
Business protections are critically important too, as they may affect investment, hiring, wage and price setting decisions.
 
Our long running survey of expectations has been providing valuable views from a small but expert group of forecasters, economists and industry leaders since 1987.
 
Now we're looking to improve our understanding further with a more comprehensive view from the wider business world with a new survey of around 400 representative companies to really learn what businesses are thinking.
 
Visit our website to have your say on the survey.

Our investment in an industry-wide survey will also provide evidence to support decision-making across many aspects of our work, beyond monetary policy.

Information for survey participants

If your business is selected, we have carefully chosen you to represent the views of your industry and businesses of a similar size.

For further information on why your response is important and details on how we protect your data see