Australia: Business confidence at over three-year low in February
March 12, 2019
The business confidence index produced by National Australia Bank (NAB) fell to 2.0 points in February from 3.6 points in January. The reading represented the weakest result in over three years. The index nevertheless remained above the zero-point threshold, indicating that Australian businesses are mostly optimistic regarding economic conditions.
Looking at the sector-by-sector picture, confidence remained lowest in retail, likely due to the ongoing weakness in consumer spending due to falling house prices, sluggish wage growth and a high stock of debt. Similarly, business conditions deteriorated significantly in February, as a result of worse forward orders, trading conditions and profitability. Meanwhile, employment expectations remained unchanged.
Australia Fixed Investment Forecast
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect fixed investment to expand 2.2% in 2019, unchanged from last month’s estimate, before accelerating slightly to 2.5% in 2020.