According to Alan Oster, NAB Group Chief Economist “Business conditions have pulled back through the middle of 2018 after reaching very high levels earlier in the year. However, the latest monthly survey suggests that conditions have stabilised at a still high level. This suggests that momentum in the business sector has not weakened further. Overall, trading conditions, profitability and employment conditions remain quite favourable.”

“Conditions have eased across most industries, though generally most industries continue to report above average conditions. Retail however, remains weak, as it has been for some time” said Mr Oster.
“Similar to last quarter, more firms report increasing wage pressures over the next 6 months – albeit with expectations of only modest increases. Very few report easing wage pressures. At present the important factors behind increasing wage pressures appear to be related to the supply/demand balance for labour. The most important factors include things such as the difficulty in finding suitable labour or the search for more skilled labour. Increasing output also appears to be an important factor with a significant proportion of firms reporting organisational growth as a factor driving wage pressures” Mr Oster said.

The latest monthly survey suggests some improvement in confidence to around average late in the quarter”.

“The 2018 Q3 Survey results do not change our outlook for the Australian economy, with business conditions still looking favourable. That said, there remains some risk around the forward looking indicators which have been a little mixed recently. Retail remains weak, which is also in line more generally with our views around the consumer, where households face a number of headwinds” said Mr Oster.

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