Finance Finance News Business conditions slow: Survey
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Business conditions slow: Survey

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Business confidence is still strong on the back of the election and low interest rates but actual business conditions are yet to follow suit.

National Australia Bank’s monthly business survey shows confidence was at five points last month, falling from six in October.

Business conditions remained subdued at -3 points.

Despite remaining weak, business conditions were trending higher, NAB economists said.

But employment conditions had deteriorated further, to -8 points from -3 in October, the survey showed.

“Employment conditions fell heavily implying further jobs shedding,” NAB economists said.

“While there was a slight improvement (in business conditions)… this level still points to quite subdued business activity and suggests that there has been limited pass-through from the recent vitality in confidence.

“Nonetheless, the changed political environment, more accommodative monetary conditions and rising asset prices are helping confidence.”

A number of industries saw improved conditions in November, such as mining, manufacturing, construction, retail and recreation and personal services, the survey said.

NAB economists said the Australian domestic economy was expected to remain weak and growth, while gradually improving, was not likely to be jobs-friendly.

“Mining is the only industry still reporting positive employment conditions highlighting the emerging difficulties in the labour market,” they said.

The survey said most industries continued to be relatively confident except wholesale, which was most pessimistic “probably reflecting its particularly high sensitivity to the level of the Australian dollar”.

“A lack of pricing power among wholesalers means that margins are squeezed as the Australian dollar depreciates,” NAB economists said.

“In contrast, it is possible that the consumer-dependant and property-related industries are looking forward to continued improvement in housing market activity.”