Business confidence has faltered over the September quarter, with the latest survey showing a general decline across forecasts for sales, profit and selling prices. The retail sector was particularly hard hit, while construction and services also saw some declines.
Business conditions are buoyant amid strong performances in sales, profits and employment. The illion Business Expectations index hit 23.7 points in March, up 16.4 percent on the same period a year earlier and the highest level since 2015.
Business confidence is beginning to lose steam, as the latest survey shows a mixed landscape across sectors and business priorities. While hiring and capital investment planning remain high, forecasts for sales and profits have edged lower after a strong start.
The Construction industry is driving business confidence heading into the second quarter of 2018, with illion’s latest Business Expectations Survey revealing construction industry confidence has reached its highest level in five years.
The September quarter sees a more cautious outlook for businesses, with the sales expectations index falling 11.5 per cent from the previous quarter to 32.2 points. The profits expectations index also fell 4 per cent on the previous quarter to 26.4 points.
Confidence continues to rise as Australian businesses predict healthy profits. The Preliminary survey for the June quarter boosted the Business Expectations Index to its highest level since December 2003, representing a 31% annual rise.