National Australia Bank (NAB)’s quarterly business survey for March showed business conditions edged higher – but a lack of jobs growth is likely to keep near-term activity soft.
WA reported the strongest in the quarter, while confidence was weakest in Victoria and Tasmania, and slightly negative in the remaining states.
NAB chief economist Alan Oster says the divide between the stronger mining and serviced-based sectors and the rest of the economy had continued.
“The weaker consumer and trade dependant sectors remained a marked feature of the economy in early 2012,” Oster says in a statement.
“At present, business sentiment appears heavily tied to gyrations in the global economy, which is inhibiting hiring and investment decisions.
“While data out of the US has generally surprised on the upside since the turn of the year and the eurozone appears a little less vulnerable to an immediate collapse … concerns of a hard landing in China have intensified.”