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Financial News: Australia NAB Business Conditions Improve

Australia NAB Business Conditions Improve

03/12/2024 - 02:50:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Australia business conditions improved in February as the economy remained resilient at the start of the year, but confidence weakened to remain stuck at a low level, survey results from NAB showed on Tuesday.

The business conditions index rose three points to 10 in February. The index exceeded the long-run average.

Both trading conditions and profitability strengthened in February, while the employment index remained broadly stable.

By industry, the improvement in business conditions was led by manufacturing, finance, business and property, mining, wholesale and recreation and personal services.

On the other hand, conditions weakened in retail and construction.

Data showed that the business confidence index fell to zero in February from one in January.

"Confidence remains quite weak, as do forward orders, with retail a long way underwater on both fronts," NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster said.

"The softness in these more forward-looking indicators says that firms really are still quite concerned about the outlook for the economy in the near-term," Oster added.

The forward orders index dropped one point to -3, while retail remained deeply in the negative territory.

Capital expenditure advanced four points, while the capacity utilization rate fell slightly to 83.4 percent.

The survey showed that labor cost growth remained at 2.0 percent, while purchase cost growth was steady at 1.8 percent.

Product price growth ticked up to 1.3 percent quarterly and both retail price growth and recreation and personal services prices increased at faster rates.

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