CFO's wary in 'shape-shifter' economy
The country’s Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) continue to remain risk averse, according to the latest survey conducted by professional services firm Deloitte.
The survey found that 84 per cent of CFO’s believed now was not the time to be taking on additional risk to their balance sheets, reflecting the entrenched mood of uncertainty and caution that has dogged the economy in recent years.
“High levels of uncertainty have been a recurring theme among CFOs since the survey began in 2009 and the overwhelming majority of CFOs surveyed this quarter (94%) believe the current levels will continue for at least another year,” Deloitte’s Chief Operating Officer Keith Skinner said.
Mr Skinner attributed the persistent economic caution to substantial structural reform throughout the country and the two ongoing two speed economic dichotomy between the east and west of the country.
“This imbalance has presented a huge challenge for a large portion of the economy – both sectors and States. However, we’re shifting gears. Deloitte Access Economics’ research also indicates that the resource sector-fuelled capital investment that has been the primary driver of Australia’s economic growth in recent years will flatten out by mid-2014, with a decline expected thereafter. After that, we need to see significant growth in exports and the non-resource sectors.” Mr Skinner said.
However, Mr Skinner said that while the economy could no longer rely on capital expenditure to fuel growth beyond 2014, the survey results indicated investment activity would continue to increase in the immediate future.
“Around two thirds of the CFOs surveyed said they expected to either maintain or increase their current levels of capital expenditure and, on the face of it, this investment appetite seems to be at odds with activity across the resources sector, with many of the larger players having significantly reined in their previous commitments to future capital investment,” Mr Skinner said.
“It’s clear that once mining investment plateaus the real challenge will be to ensure we are in a position to deliver growth in the sectors that slowed during the resources boom. The recent interest rate cut is a positive step in that direction for industries such as housing and retail.”