Australia: The results from Dun & Bradstreet’s January Business Expectations Survey have highlighted a third consecutive period of subdued expectations, with businesses reporting a pessimistic outlook for the second quarter of 2016.
However, the Employment outlook has improved, with the index up to 13.7 points, compared to 12.0 points in the March quarter of 2016. Although the percentage of businesses intending to employ more staff fell from 24.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 to 22.0 per cent in the second quarter, the percentage of businesses expecting a decrease in employee numbers dropped from 12.1 per cent to 8.4 per cent over the same period.
The Selling Prices Index also improved steadily over the period, from 15.1 points to 19 points. Of the businesses surveyed, 27.5 per cent expect to increase prices over the June 2015 quarter, while 9.2 per cent are likely to reduce prices. The remaining 63.3 per cent of businesses are unlikely to change pricing levels.
Dun & Bradstreet’s Business Expectations Index, the average of the survey’s measures of Sales, Profits, Employment and Capital Investment, has fallen to 16.5 points for the second quarter of 2016, down 2.4 points from 18.9 points for Q1 2016, and a fall of 3.6 points from 20.1 points for Q2 2015. Nonetheless, it is significantly higher than the 10-year average of 7.0 points, and, despite some fluctuations, expectations have generally risen over the past three years.
Overall, businesses reported lower expectations for Sales, Profits and Capital Investment for the second quarter of 2016 compared to the first quarter, with the figures dipping by 5.7 points, 3.1 points and 2.6 points respectively.
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