• Headline business confidence fell a further 5 points in August, but firms’ views of their own activity were steady.
• Manufacturing is now the least confident sector – likely a lagged impact from construction sector woes. The services sector is the most optimistic.
• Activity sub-indicators remain weak. This month we take a closer look at the implications of weak investment and employment intentions, and conclude the threat to near-term activity is real.
In the August ANZ Business Outlook Survey headline business confidence dropped a further 5 points to a net 50% of respondents reporting they expect general business conditions to deteriorate in the year ahead.
However, firms’ perceptions of their own prospects are a much better gauge of actual economic outcomes. This series stabilised at a net 4% expecting an improvement, well below the long-term average of +27%. By industry, manufacturers’ expectations dropped 11 points to become the least positive about their own activity (-4%), while retail and services improved somewhat.