Business confidence remained steady in April, while conditions eased slightly, as firms await the federal budget tomorrow night. NAB’s widely watched Monthly Business Survey showed that confidence held at +3 last month, which is a little below average levels.
The bank’s economists said that is not a strong enough level to see economic improvement. “Until confidence lifts significantly it is difficult to see a sustained economic recovery developing – to date rate cuts have not appeared to do much and it will be interesting to see what if anything this week’s federal budget will do,” they noted in the report.
Conditions eased slightly to +4 from +6 in March, but still remain higher than they were in February and around the survey’s longer term average. Both trading and profitability eased last month, but trading remains at +10, while profitability is at a modest +5. Backing up a downward revision to the Reserve Bank’s employment forecasts made in its Statement on Monetary Policy on Friday, the NAB survey’s measure of employment dipped back into contraction at -2.