Business confidence bullish

Last updated 13:37 28/11/2013

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Business confidence is surging across the board, nearing a 15-year high, pointing to strong economic growth in the year ahead.

The latest ANZ Business Outlook shows general business confidence improved from a net 53 per cent in October to 61 per cent in November "just shy of a 15-year high". The index is a net balance of those expecting better times ahead, minus those expecting worse times.

"With less than a month until the summer holidays, we see the economy riding the crest of a business optimism wave," ANZ said.

"Our composite growth indicator portends boom times ahead: 5 per cent growth. That's pie-in-the-sky stuff but we agree with the spirit - good times ahead."

The retail sector showed the biggest gain in confidence, up from 48 to 70, its highest reading since 1994.

At the other end of the scale, the farm sector showed the lowest level of confidence at a net 51 per cent positive. But it has been 20 years since the lowest sectoral level of optimism was that high, ANZ said.

Firms' expectations about their own business prospects remained steady at a 14-1/2 high of 47 per cent positive.

Expected profitability and hiring intentions both hit 19-year highs, with net balances of positive 37 and 23 respectively.

Expected profits were highest in the farm sector and expected job growth highest in the building sector.

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