Australia: Business sentiment regains some ground and business conditions tick up in October
The business confidence index produced by National Australia Bank (NAB) rose to plus 1.7 points in October, from minus 0.3 points in September. As a result, the index moved back above the zero-point threshold for the first time in six months, indicating that Australian businesses turned mostly optimistic regarding economic conditions going forward. However, it remained below its long-term average of plus 6.0.
In terms of sectors, confidence in the finance, mining, construction and retail sectors laid in positive territory. On the other hand, confidence in the wholesale and the manufacturing sectors remained entrenched in negative territory. On top of that, sentiment in the construction sector got rosier, most likely reflecting an improvement in the housing market. Lastly, the mining sector recorded the highest levels of confidence.
Moreover, business conditions strengthened slightly from September, on the back of improvements in trading conditions and profitability. Additionally, forward orders increased, while the employment sub-index remained steady from the previous month.