SMALL BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ON A TEN-YEAR LOW
BUSINESS CONFIDENCE among small firms fell further during the September quarter, with hiring and investment intentions in negative territory for the first time since the GFC.
According to ANZ’s quarterly Business Micro Scope survey a net 44 percent of small businesses are pessimistic about general business conditions, the most since June 2008. Confidence slipped in both micro firms (0-5 employees) and intermediate-sized businesses (those that employ 6-20 employees) for the quarter, but lifted slightly in September on a monthly basis.
“While the uptick at the end of the quarter suggests the low might be behind them, pessimism seems likely to be the main theme for business confidence in the year ahead driven by ongoing concern about regulatory changes and the lack of skilled labour,” says Antonia Watson, ANZ’s managing director Retail and Business Banking.
"Our composite growth measure for small firms – a proxy for GDP growth – slipped to another nine-year low, teetering on the edge of expansion at +0.8. Firms’ activity outlook remains positive, but hiring and investment intentions turned negative and profit expectations slid further into the red.
“This suggests small firms continue to see reasonable demand for their goods and services but perhaps some difficulty in passing on rising costs to consumers.”