National Australia Bank Business Survey for April 2024.

Business confidence 1.5

  • prior 1.4
  • long term average is 5

Business conditions 6.8

  • prior 9
  • long term average is 6.8

Some of the sub-components:

  • Forward orders fell 6pts to -7 index points
  • Labour market +2
  • Capex steady at +8
  • Capacity utilisation remained at 83.2%
  • Labour cost growth eased to 1.5% in quarterly equivalent terms (from 1.7%)
  • Purchase cost growth also slowed to 1.2% (from 1.5%)
  • Product price growth lifted to 0.9% (from 0.7%)
  • Retail price growth eased to 0.9% (from 1.4%)

Comments from the report:

All three components of business conditions were back at their long-run averages in April

  • In some ways this marks a bit of a milestone after a long period in which conditions have been gradually easing from the very high levels seen in 2022, reflecting slowing economic growth.
  • Perhaps the most notable shift in April was the fall back in the employment index to around its average at +2 index points
  • The strength we have seen in the labour market has been very impressive, and strong labour demand has been a key driver of this. The April survey result suggests this may have now normalised somewhat, at least in the business sector.
  • “There was some further improvement in the pace of cost growth in April, as well as a step down in the pace of retail price growth after elevated readings in the first few months of the year”
  • “That is an optimistic sign for the prospects of some easing in inflation in Q2, though we will have to wait see how this evolves over the coming months.”

AUD responding more to the budget chatter:

Jim Chalmers, Treasurer of Australia
Jim Chalmers, Treasurer of Australia