Australia: Businesses confidence rises again in January
February 11, 2014
The business sentiment index published by the National Australian Bank (NAB) increased for the first time in four months in January and reached to 8 points, which was up from the 6 points tallied in December. The indicator remains well above the 0-point threshold, which indicates that Australian businesses are optimistic regarding economic conditions in the coming months.
Business confidence remained positive in most industries, with the exceptions of wholesale and mining. Given that both industries are considered a bellwether of the Australian economy, the NAB acknowledged that worsening expectations for the performance of these industries is significant. Expectations for the construction and manufacturing sectors improved in January following an increase in activity in the housing market, despite the recent announcements that certain car factories would close. Notwithstanding the recent unemployment data , the employment index improved markedly in January, but according to the NAB, "it still suggests soft labor conditions," and, "a jobless recovery."
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists see fixed investment growing 1.3% in 2014, which is unchanged from last month's forecast. The panel sees investment expanding 1.6% in 2015.