Australia: Business confidence weakens in May
The business confidence index produced by the National Australia Bank (NAB) decreased to 6 points in May from 11 points in April. The series nevertheless remained above the neutral 0-point threshold, indicating that Australian businesses are largely optimistic regarding economic conditions.
Looking at the sector-by-sector picture, the construction, manufacturing and transport and utilities sectors grew less optimistic, while the mining sector became more optimistic. All sectors remained firmly in positive territory. Meanwhile, business conditions weakened in May on the back of a deterioration in trading conditions, profitability and employment. Forward orders also eased marginally but remained in positive territory, and capacity utilization edged down in May. However, business conditions remained strong, which bodes well for non-mining business investment this year.