Australian dollar lifts on positive NAB business confidence survey

The National Australia Bank’s index of business conditions rose 4 points to +7 in January, jumping sharply from the month before.

The volatile measure of business confidence inched up on point to +4 in January, much softer than recent months.

NAB chief economist Alan Oster said, ‘We had noted that seasonality and statistical volatility may have driven some of the (December) result but that the trend in conditions had been down,’

‘The January survey confirms this, and while we don't think activity in the business sector has crashed, we think that there has been some loss in momentum.’ Mr. Oster said.

The measure of sales rose 3 points to +10, while profitability climbed 4 points to +5.

As expected, the survey shows retail as the worst performing sector, with car sales and personal & household goods coming in the weakest. Mining, recreational and personal and the finance sectors were strongest.

Housing market concerns and a tightening of lending conditions by banks have darkened the outlook for the economy.

It comes after the central bank of Australia last week cut its forecasts for economic growth and inflation after a spate of weak data.

‘We now see the RBA staying in neutral for the foreseeable future, though think the next move could be down rather than up based on the current trajectory of growth and growing downside risks,’ said Mr. Oster.

Australian dollar lifts

AUD/USD briefly popped higher to $0.7075 from $0.7060 off the back of the NAB survey.

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