Australia: Business confidence moderates in February
March 11, 2014
The business sentiment index published by the National Australian Bank (NAB) fell from 9 points tallied in January to 7 points in February. The indicator is still, however, well above the 0-point threshold, which indicates that Australian businesses are optimistic regarding economic conditions in the coming months. Business confidence remained positive in most industries, with a significant improvement registered in wholesale. However, the bellwether industries of transport and utilities registered sharp declines, which drove the indicator down. According to the NAB, the previous month's, “sharp turnaround in manufacturing recorded last month was largely unwound, and is now more consistent with the difficult environment that continues to face Australian manufacturers.” Regarding the job market, expectations of employment worsened as businesses expect “further labor market deterioration.” FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists see fixed investment growing 1.2% in 2014, which is unchanged from last month's forecast. The panel sees investment expanding 1.6% in 2015.