Australia business conditions strengthen in August - survey
SYDNEY, Sept 11 (Reuters) - An index of Australian business
conditions rebounded in August as firms reported improved sales
and profits, though confidence softened perhaps in reaction to
political uncertainty as the country's prime minister fell to a
The National Australia Bank's index of business
conditions released on Tuesday regained 2 points to stand at
+15 in August, well above the long-run average of +6.
The survey's measure of profitability climbed 6 points to
+16 in August, recovering all of July's dip, while its sales
index added 1 point to a strong +19.
In a promising development, the survey's employment index
held firm at +10.
"The employment index continues to suggest growth in
employment of around 23,000 per month over the next 6 months,"
said NAB group chief economist Alan Oster.
"With a stabilisation in the labour force participation
rate, this should be enough to see the unemployment rate decline
further over the rest of 2018."
The official jobs report for August is due on Thursday and
is expected to show the jobless rate stayed at a six-year low of
The survey's often volatile measure of business confidence
dipped 3 points to +4 in August.
The poll was taken just after the ruling Liberal Party
ousted former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and replaced him
with Treasurer Scott Morrison.
The centre-right Liberal National Coalition has since
slumped in opinion polls, leaving the centre-left Labor Party in
a commanding position to win the next election.
Still, firms reported strength in their own businesses, with
forward orders rising and investment plans picking up outside
the mining sector.
"In combination with a rebound in business conditions this
month, this suggests that the business sector has continued to
perform strongly as we enter the second half of 2018," said
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has highlighted the
resilience of business conditions as it forecast economic growth
would top 3 percent this year and next.
Surveyed measures of inflation rose in August with labour
and purchase costs higher, though growth remains subdued
compared with history.
(Reporting by Wayne Cole)
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