Tuesday, results of a report from Business New Zealand revealed that the economy continued to remain weak in the first quarter, but showed some improvement from the fourth quarter.

The Economic Conditions Index, an indicator measuring the performance of the New Zealand economy, increased to minus 5 in the first quarter from minus 9 in the fourth quarter.

Business New Zealand said overall, the indicator points to several more quarters of negative growth, even while showing some evidence that the world commodity prices may have reached their lowest levels.

Moreover, the report said while the slump in international demand for goods and services affected sentiments of firms, the extreme pessimism seemed to be lifting, with consumer and business confidence surveys showing slight improvements.

However, the pessimism with regard to the job market remained in the first quarter, with the index standing at minus 4.

The Economic Conditions Index (ECI) is a composite index of 32 indicators, including GDP, export volumes, commodity prices and inflation, debt and confidence figures.

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