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Confidence among businesses lifts again

Business confidence saw another increase last month following stabilisation in the Australian share market throughout March.

The latest figures from Roy Morgan Research show a 2.1 percentage point increase in business confidence in March, bringing the business confidence index up 2.1 per cent to 115.7 – slightly below the five-year average of 116.6.

The research found 52.7 per cent of businesses surveyed expected economic conditions to be better off over the next 12 months, while 41.6 per cent believed economic conditions would be worse off.

There was also increased confidence in comparing the business’ performance, with 56.3 per cent of participants believing they were better off than they were a year ago, while 35.8 per cent believed they were not.

Looking at the individual states, business confidence increased in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, and remained largely unchanged in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania.

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Roy Morgan Research executive chairman, Gary Morgan, said the increase in business confidence came as the Australian All Ordinaries recovered from “two turbulent months”.

“The stabilisation of equity markets and gentle improvements in confidence perhaps played a part in Turnbull’s decision to bring the deadlock in the Senate to a head in mid-March and challenge the Senate crossbenchers to pass the government’s reforms during a recalled session of parliament from mid-April or face a double dissolution election on Saturday July 2, 2016,” Mr Morgan said.

“Australia hasn’t faced a double dissolution election since 1987, nearly thirty years ago, and the strategy carries risks for Turnbull – including an extra-long campaigning period of up to 100 days if taken from the point Turnbull pro-rogued parliament to return early from their recess.

“The political uncertainty over the next few months as Australians head to the polls also means recent gains in business confidence and consumer confidence may retrace somewhat in the next few months before the result of the federal election is known.”

[Related: SMEs reliant on personal finances for funding]

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