Queensland business confidence lower than during global financial crisis

Friday 30 July, 2010 | Tags: Economic Policy

Business confidence in the Australian economy has seen a dramatic decline and is now lower than the same quarter in 2009, when the economy was experiencing the full onslaught of the global financial crisis, the latest Commonwealth Bank Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland (CCIQ) Pulse Survey of Business Conditions shows.

CCIQ President David Goodwin said business confidence in the Australian economy had fallen sharply over the June quarter with a significant decrease in the Australian Economic Conditions Index, from 65.5 to 50.1.

"Total sales revenue has contracted sharply from 50.7 to 45.0 whilst at the same time, the Profitability Index has continued to trend downwards, falling from 44 in the previous quarter to 39.5," Mr Goodwin said.

Not surprisingly, confidence in the Queensland economy has also fallen with only 26 per cent of respondents expecting our state economy to strengthen over the next quarter.

However, despite a decline in confidence, sales and profitability, 59 per cent of respondents reported equal employment levels over the past three months.

This is in part due to business continuing to dig into their pockets to keep employees on board for when things inevitably improve.

Interestingly businesses reported the single biggest change in the last quarter to be political and economic stability and this is now having a profound impact on business and consumer confidence.

"Businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to keep their heads above water when interest rates, wage pressures, energy prices and business taxes continue to mount," Mr Goodwin said.

The report indicates significant contributing factors in the decline in spending have been a lack of confidence in government and their management of the economy with uncertainty regarding their political agenda and the federal election preventing business and consumers moving forward.

"Business is really struggling. Queensland needs a business friendly operating environment to be able to grow, invest and protect our economy," Mr Goodwin said.

"Surely there is more the government can be doing to support business and our economy."

The Pulse Survey has been measuring Queensland business confidence and expectations for over 20 years and is published in cooperation with the Commonwealth Bank. The survey is unchallenged in terms of being the most authoritative, timely and comprehensive snapshot of Queensland business sentiment with over 850 Queensland businesses interviewed as part of each survey.