Economic activity poor in September quarter, but business expectations improving; Four-year high for Sydney auction listings; Retail sales up in September: Midday Roundup

Trading condition indicators have continued to slide deeper into the negative in the September quarter, according to new figures from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Selling prices reached a record low of 42.4 in the survey’s 19-year history. The profits index declined further to 35.7, its lowest point in four years.

General business conditions remained relatively unchanged in the quarter, although fell slightly, recording its weakest result of 42.8 since the global financial crisis.

The sales revenue index had continued its six quarter decline, but businesses still expect the indicator to improve in December.

“There is little evidence in these results to suggest that activity in the non-mining sectors of the economy will lift sufficiently to sustain an overall pace of growth as resources investment continues to roll of its peak,” ACCI chief economist Burchell Wilson said in a statement.

“Despite continued poor results across a range of indicators, there were solid improvements in measures of business expectations with all forward indicators strengthening for the December quarter.”

Four-year high for auction listings in Sydney

Sydney auction listings have hit their highest point in four years, with RP Data figures showing almost 77% of the 1090 houses on the market selling under the hammer over the weekend.

A total of 1642 auctions were scheduled in capital cities across Australia over the weekend.

In Melbourne only 192 properties were up for grabs, as Victorians enjoyed a long weekend ahead of Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.

As well as clearance rates, it seems house prices are also on the up, with Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released this morning showing across the eight capital cities prices increased 1.9% for the quarter.

 Since last year, house prices have jumped 7.6% Australia-wide.

Sydney is performing best, with house prices rising 3.6% for the September quarter. Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart also saw significant gains of 1.9%, 1.2% and 1.4% increases respectively.

Retail sales up in September

Retail sales have lifted more than analysts’ expectations in September, as Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal turnover increased 0.8%, seasonally adjusted, for the quarter.

Turnover in department stores increased 2.8% and the clothing, footwear and personal accessory category rose 2.5%.

On a state-by-state basis, Victoria and New South Wales both recorded increases of 1%, while Western Australia declined by 0.5%.

Shares up on open

Aussie shares have opened higher this morning, following gains on Wall Street overnight on the back of positive United States manufacturing data.

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was up 7.3 points to 5418.4 at 11:58 AEDT. On Friday the Dow Jones closed 0.45% up, gaining 69.8 points to 15,615.55.

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