Business confidence rises in February

Business confidence rose in February due to increased confidence about performance and prospects, according to Roy Morgan Research.

Following a combined decline of 8.7 percentage points from November to January, the latest figures from Roy Morgan show a 2.7 percentage point increase in business confidence in February.

The research found 44 per cent of businesses now expect business to improve over the next 12 months and only 16.4 per cent (down 5.2 per cent) expect conditions will be worse off.

There was also increased confidence in comparing the business’ performance, with 36.1 per cent (up 9.6 per cent) now feeling they are better off than a year ago, while only 32.2 per cent think they are not.

This increase in business confidence comes off the back of the best fortnight of the year for the All Ordinaries which ended the third week of February at 5,039.1 (up 222.5 percentage points).

“The All Ordinaries appears to have bottomed in early February and gently rebounded as concerns about slowing Chinese economic growth and the dropping prices of oil and other commodities receded,” Roy Morgan Research industry communications director, Norman Morris, said, adding that despite an overall improvement in business confidence, confidence varied across different industry sectors.

“Looking at industry sectors shows confidence increasing strongly in manufacturing, finance, insurance and health care as the economy rebalances away from the mining boom,” Mr Morris said.

“However, a third straight monthly decline in retail business confidence which follows the trouble for Dick Smith and Masters, and declines in confidence for wholesale trade, agriculture, forestry and fishing and also the construction industry show that there will be winners and losers throughout the economy as the rebalancing continues.”

[Related: Business confidence remains steady]

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