Business confidence slips
Business confidence and conditions have both edged down in February, with a high Aussie dollar and weak performance of non-mining demand weighing heavily on most sectors.
The Westpac Monthly Business Survey found that large falls in orders, poor capacity use and weak capex plans had all contributed to a near-term weak level of domestic demand.
Despite the ABS releasing data which confirms a 3.1 per cent growth to the nation’s GDP, Westpac has confirmed the weakening condition suggests the economy is continuing to grow below trend.
While conditions remain difficult for many industries, especially construction and manufacturing, there are signs that consumers may have become less cautious in response to recent improvements in equity and housing markets, with recreation & personal services, retailing and wholesaling all improving in the month.
Nonetheless, the general mood is more upbeat than it was towards the end of 2012. The fall in sentiment was broadly based, especially in mining, wholesale and recreation & personal services. But finance/ business/ property bucked the trend.