by Alan Thornhill
Australian business executives are still nervous, with profits, trading and confidence all down.
This bleak picture is reflected in three studies, which have just been published.
The first, undertaken jointly by the Australian Industry Group and the Commonwealth Bank, shows that sales, new orders and employment in the services sector all fell back last month.
This sector is critically important, as expansion in services employment has helped to keep thousands of Australians in jobs, as advancing technology increasingly displaced people once employed in old-style manual work.
The survey showed a “particularly sharp” fall in new orders, taking this indicator to its lowest level in more than 12 months.
In the second study, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that gross company profits fell by 6.5 per cent, over the final three months of last year, to a level just 2.2 per cent above that seen in the December quarter of 2010.
With Australia’s headline inflation rate rising by 3.1 per cent last year,this shows that company profits actually fell, in real terms, over that time.
The third study shows, too, that even in the boom State of Western Australia, all is not well.
That study, based on the Sensis Index, showed that better trading conditions had done little to boost confidence among that State’s small to medium businesses.
The report’s author, Christena Singh, said business confidence in the West had declined “as a result of ongoing concerns about weak consumer spending.”
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
Monday December 9
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra says she will dissolve parliament and call an election, after sustained protests in the capital, Bangkok.
Parliament has passed laws to abolish the debt ceiling just three days before the Government said the nation’s books would hit the cap of $300 billion.
The Dow Jones index rose 198.69 points (Friday, New York time) to 16,020.20
Tony Abbott’s bills to repeal the carbon tax face defeat in the Senate this week, raising the spectre of a double dissolution
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|Nat. Bank Fpo||33.170||-0.300||-0.90%|
|Rio Tinto Fpo||66.530||+0.120||+0.18%|
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