National Australia Bank Business Survey for March 2022

  • The confidence number is sentiment-based while the conditions number is more objective.

Business confidence comes in at +16

  • prior +13

Business conditions is +18

  • prior 9

Solid rises for both of these measures, conditions the stand-out though.

Some of the sub-measures:

  • sales 24 (from 11)
  • profitability 13 (from 5)
  • employment index 12 (from 8)

Higher costs:

  • labour costs +2.7% q/q (from +1.8%)
  • selling prices +2.3% q/q (from 1.4%)

NAB chief economist Alan Oster, remarking on purchase costs and labour costs rising at the fastest pace in the history of the survey (and thus pushed retail price inflation higher):

  • “Costs are growing at record rates in the history of the survey,” said Mr Oster. “Purchase costs reached records with elevated oil prices adding to existing supply chain issues, and labour costs are also rising as businesses hire more workers in a very competitive labour market. These cost pressures are very broad-based across industries.”
  • “Importantly, it appears businesses have had little trouble passing on higher costs to consumers with prices – including retail prices – also rising at record rates,” said Mr Oster. “Survey price measures differ from official measures in important ways, but we nonetheless expect very strong inflation in Q1 and likely Q2,” said Mr Oster.

(ps. the next update for the Australian CPI is due on April 27)

business confidence Australia 12 April 2022