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Business confidence steady, conditions ease

In the face of persistent financial market volatility, business confidence continues to hold up while conditions have eased, according to NAB.

The bank’s latest monthly business survey indicated that despite ongoing financial turmoil, business confidence “has held up reasonably well”.

The index saw no change between December 2015 and January 2016, remaining at +2 points.

Meanwhile, business conditions have eased slightly during the period, dropping from +6 to +5 index points. NAB said that this decline has been driven by a sharp deterioration in Western Australia’s conditions, and to a lesser extent South Australia’s.

“Business conditions in mining have deteriorated to an eye-watering -47 points, which is having a clear flow on effect to conditions in the major mining states,” NAB group economist Alan Oster said.

Outside of the mining sector, the bank noted that wholesale and retail have exhibited some weakness, whereas the transport industry is strong and major services industries “remain the clear outperformers”.

“This outcome suggests fundamental conditions in the non-mining economy remain very resilient,” Mr Oster said.

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“Given all the volatility in equity and financial markets, this is yet another relatively good result from the business survey. It suggests that things remain broadly on track for the non-mining economy.”

[Related: Conditions ripe for corporate takeovers]

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