Business confidence soars

JAZIAL CROSSLEY
Last updated 15:30 30/09/2013

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Business confidence is at its highest since 1999, according to the ANZ Business Outlook survey.

Almost half the companies that responded to the survey in the September quarter said they expected better times ahead. Profit expectations hit a 14-year high.

Employment and investment levels were strong, investment in livestock high and construction intentions strong.

ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie said the collective economic picture painted by the results was one of expansion.

"We're long past recovery. In this early stage of the expansion pricing gauges still look contained: one year ahead inflation expectations are still anchored at 2.3 per cent.

"However, the inflationary risks are starting to look one-sided. We're seeing more of a drift upwards in pricing intentions."

Profit expectations being at their highest since 1999 was significant, he said.

"Making money is a precursor to investing and spending money."

More than half of the respondents, 51.4 per cent, expected real business activity to increase. Five per cent more thought getting credit would be harder than thought it would be easier, compared to the previous quarter.

Westpac senior economist Michael Gordon agreed sentiment, capacity utilisation, expected profits, employment and investment intentions were close to post-recession highs.

"With all the major sectors of the economy reporting strong conditions over the last three months, and with agricultural productions beginning to rebound from the drought earlier this year, we expect GDP growth of 1 per cent in the September quarter."

The ANZ Business Outlook survey was based on responses from 362 companies.

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- Fairfax Media

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