Australia: Business sentiment at over seven-year low on coronavirus fears in February
The business confidence index produced by National Australia Bank (NAB) dropped to minus 3.6 points in February, from minus 1.0 points in January, dragged down by rising concerns on the economic impact of Covid-19. Therefore, the index logged its worst result since July 2013 and moved further below the zero-point threshold, indicating that Australian businesses are mostly pessimistic regarding economic conditions going forward.
In terms of sectors, February’s decrease came reflected falling confidence in retail, recreation and personal services and finance. On the other hand, confidence in the wholesale and mining sectors strengthened.
Moreover, business conditions weakened from January, as worse profitability and trading conditions more than offset a slight improvement in employment prospects. Furthermore, forward orders worsened markedly and exports also declined.