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Business conditions improve in December, though confidence still muted

Image of a woman wearing a face mask at a cafe

Business conditions have continued improving after the initial impact of the pandemic, hitting the highest point since late 2018 in December according to NAB’s monthly business survey.

The result is the fourth consecutive month of gains, and suggests a strong momentum behind Australia’s business recovery. However, business confidence fell 9 points during the month.

According to NAB chief economist Alan Oster the result is largely based on a rise in employment conditions, with recent official job data “very encouraging”.

“Capacity utilisation continued to recover with another solid gain,” Oster said.

“However, it also suggests that despite a large rebound over the last six months, we are not yet fully recovered.”

Though employment conditions have improved, Oster said, businesses hare largely holding off from making major investment plans – something he hopes to see change in the next few months.

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