Business confidence has not materially improved since Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister, a survey has found.
The Dun & Bradstreet Business Expectations Index had previously shown a small improvement in expectations for sales, profits, employment and investment between the third and fourth quarters of 2015 – with the index rising from 17.2 to 21.8.
However, expectations for business conditions have fallen back for the first quarter of 2016 in the latest survey, with the index back to 17.7 points.
The report noted: “The recent change in Prime Minister and Treasurer does not appear to have influenced the general outlook, with 57 per cent of respondents expecting no change to their business operations as a result of the leadership spill.
“It is worth noting that, of the remainder, 32 per cent expect a positive impact, with just 3 per cent expecting a negative impact, while 9 per cent are unsure.”
This finding is at odds with another survey, published by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry just a day before.
The ACCI survey found that expectations for the economic outlook have improved for the first time in two years, and expectations of business conditions have improved for the first time in a year – which ACCI CEO Kate Carnell described as “the ‘Turnbull effect’ filtering through to business confidence”.
However economist consulting to Dun & Bradstreet, Stephen Koukoulas, said: “All of the main sub-components [of the index] are trending lower; most notably, the key readings for expected sales, employment and capital expenditure are pointing down.
“This does not bode well for the economy as 2015 draws to an end and 2016 approaches. It is a sharp reversal from the generally upbeat tone to business expectations that prevailed throughout most of 2015.”