Australia: Business sentiment closes 2019 at over six-year low in December amid extensive wildfires
The business confidence index produced by National Australia Bank (NAB) fell to minus 2.0 points in December, from plus 0.1 points in November. As a result, the index moved below the zero-point threshold, indicating that Australian businesses are mostly pessimistic regarding economic conditions going forward. Moreover, the index logged its worst reading since July 2013.
In terms of sectors, December’s fall came on the back of eroding confidence in retail, construction, rec and personal services and manufacturing. On the other hand, confidence in the mining sector rebounded strongly, and upticks were recorded in the transport and utilities and wholesale sectors.
Moreover, business conditions also lost ground from November, amid a deterioration in profitability and trading conditions. Meanwhile, forward orders improved somewhat, while the employment sub-index remained steady from the previous month.