CHINESE DENT TO CONFIDENCE
AUSTRALIAN business confidence has slumped to its weakest level in two years as the economy slows amid concerns about the outlook for China.
National Australia Bank’s index measuring confidence among the nation’s businesses has clocked in this month at its weakest level since mid-2013.
Consumers’ confidence has also deteriorated, to its weakest level in more than a year, according to separate research by ANZ and pollster Roy Morgan. Weak June quarter economic growth figures sent the consumer confidence measure down 6 per cent in a week.
While confidence has been hit, the NAB survey found business conditions are at a 10-month high, particularly trading volumes and profitability. UBS economist Scott Haslem said it indicated there was no need for more rate cuts from the Reserve Bank, but the impact on confidence of uncertainty about China posed a risk.
Chinese exports and imports both fell in August in the latest sign of weakness for the world’s second-biggest economy. Exports were down 5.5 per cent to $US196.9 billion and imports 13.8 per cent to $US136.6 billion. Chinese authorities yesterday also announced plans to stabilise their stockmarkets. Trading on its Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges will be halted if they move 5 per cent or more.