Australia: Business confidence plunges in March
April 11, 2019
The business confidence index produced by National Australia Bank (NAB) fell to minus 0.4 points in March from plus 1.8 points in February. The reading represented the weakest result in over five years. Moreover, the index moved below the zero-point threshold, indicating that Australian businesses turned pessimistic regarding economic conditions going forward.
Looking at the sector-by-sector picture, confidence was lowest in the services sectors, and in wholesale and retail. This is likely due to the ongoing weakness in consumer spending, restrained by declining house prices, unremarkable wage growth and a high stock of household debt. On the other hand, business conditions improved significantly in March, as a result of better forward orders, trading conditions and profitability. Meanwhile, employment expectations also improved, and capacity utilization ticked up.
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.