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'Best time ever' to be in business, despite JobKeeper's end


There have never been better conditions for business than right now, according to the NAB business survey.

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The bank said conditions rose to a record high in March and the strength of the economy was evident across all states and industries.

The survey found that forward orders were at record levels which pointed to ongoing strength in activity.

Economists said the survey indicated that the impacts of the end of JobKeeper would be short and limited.

The NAB said while business confidence took a hit in March it was still at a high level which suggested that companies believed that the strength in activity would continue.

“Alongside the strength in activity, capacity utilisation rose further in the month and is now well above average,” the NAB said.

Chief economist Alan Oster said there was one word for the results of the survey: “Wow.”

He said there was a twist in the survey and that was retail which recorded the strongest reading yet also had the weakest confidence level.

“Which means they don’t think it’s going to last,” Oster said.

Significantly, Oster said the results were not just based on misplaced confidence because forward orders were strong.

“This is real stuff. To me, the best measure we have is forward orders. Previously, the best level we had was plus-10, we are now at plus-17.”

He said there would be issues ahead in some areas like arts and recreation and some sub-sectors of travel and anything to do with CBDs which were “pretty soft”.

“There are lumps and bumps, but what you would say out of this survey is that the economy is doing very nicely at the moment,” he said.

“This is a very solid survey result.”

“The survey is showing an increase in produced prices or input prices. But by the time you get down to actual prices it is nowhere near as strong so it sort of says input prices have gone up, profits have been hurt a bit but the flow through to inflation won’t be that strong.

“Retailers think that when JobKeeper goes people won’t be spending as much.”






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