The latest Business Expectations Survey shows a slowing economy reflected in a downturn in expectations and results across most areas featured in the survey. The expectations index was down 13.2 per cent, pointing to economic weakness carrying through to the middle of 2019.
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 for the March quarter has fallen across the board, with the Business Expectations Index for the March quarter 2019 down 7.1 per cent annually. The headline index saw significant declines in the sales, profit and investment sub-indices on both a quarterly and annual basis.
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.
Business confidence has improved over the latest quarter, with the latest survey showing small increases in both expected and actual results. The retail sector delivered a seasonal rebound in its outlook for December, following a bout of pessimism last quarter.
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.