A lacklustre 'confidence' result, but do note the 'conditions' index tends to be more objective.

Main points/remarks via NAB:

Business conditions rose further in December to its highest level since late 2018

  • fourth consecutive month of improvement
  • employment conditions are back in positive territory for the first time since the start of the pandemic
  • conditions are now well above average

Business confidence

  • confidence pulled back in NSW, Victoria and Queensland
  • In part, this likely reflects the impact of the Sydney COVID-19 outbreak through December

leading indicators suggest the pipeline of work continues to build - pointing to an ongoing recovery in the months ahead

  • capacity utilisation saw further gains and is now around its long-run average (and pre-virus levels)
  • forward orders pulled back but remain in positive territory

Most indicators within the survey are now broadly at or above pre-virus levels, with the exceptions being export conditions - no surprise given the pandemic continues to disrupt global trade -and capital expenditure.

By sub-component

  • employment index rising 13pts to 9
  • Trading (up 5pts)
  • profitability (down 2pts)
  • All three sub-indices are above average, for the first time since early 2019.
nab Australia business confidence