Queensland small business confidence lift for March Quarter
Small Business performance and confidence in the Queensland economy has ticked upwards, according to latest research.
The CCIQ Pulse Survey of Business Conditions for the March Quarter reveals positive signs ahead of both the Federal and State Budgets, and the Federal Election on July 2.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said that on a positive note, the low Australian dollar, interest rates, weather and fuel prices all combined to support economic activity in the first three months of 2016.
It was also anticipated these factors would continue to benefit the state in the coming 12 months.
“On the down side, the resources sector, a hung State Parliament, and the forthcoming Federal Election are weighing down consumer and business confidence and demand,” Mr Behrens said.
“Despite the overall positive trend all metrics measured by the survey remain well short of where needed and are below their five-year average.
“However, the unmistakable direction for the March Quarter was a positive one with indicators trending north. Performance and confidence are noticeably ahead of this time last year and expectations for the June Quarter are also looking favourable.
“While the current economic picture is undoubtedly challenging, there is interspersed optimism with improving general business conditions and sales, and in turn profitability, employment and capital expenditure finally trending towards neutral territory.”
Key findings to the CCIQ Pulse Survey include:
12 Month Outlook
• The 12 month outlook for the Australian (49.9) and the Queensland (43.3) economies have both risen, but remain just shy of a neutral setting.
General Business Conditions
• The Pulse General Business Conditions Index lifted by 1.4 Index points to 44.3 in the March Quarter, but overall conditions remain challenging.
• Business conditions for the coming June Quarter appear to be further trending toward neutral territory (45.1).
Sales and Revenue
• The Pulse Sales and Revenue Index lifted by 3.1 Index points and is now in positive territory (51.0) in the March Quarter.
• Sales and revenue are set to rise further, with the Index forecast at 52.8 for the June Quarter.
• While actual wages remain relatively subdued, total labour costs have risen with the Pulse Labour Costs Index increasing to 57.1 in the March Quarter.
• Looking ahead, the Index is expected to moderate for the coming June Quarter (51.9).
• Profitability rose slightly by 0.7 of an Index point to 43.1 in the March Quarter, but remains stubbornly in negative territory.
• Expectations for the coming June Quarter sees the Index trending towards neutral territory (47.2).
• Employment levels have increased over four consecutive quarters and the Index is now at 47.8 for the March Quarter with further improvement anticipated in the June Quarter (48.4).
• Almost two in three businesses (64 per cent) expect to keep employment levels steady in the three months to June.
• The Capital Expenditure Index increased to 49.4 in the March Quarter, up 3.4 Index points.
• Short-term expectations for Capital Expenditure are not quite as good with the Index coming back to 46.5.
CCIQ’s Pulse Survey of Business Conditions is the largest survey of Queensland businesses, providing critical insights into the sentiment of almost 500 business owners across the state.
It is unchallenged in terms of being the most authoritative, timely and comprehensive snapshot of Queensland business expectations and confidence and has been in operation for over two decades.
The survey period is for 12-22 April 2016 and covers business sentiment through the quarter to March 2016 and looking forward to the quarter ahead to June 2016.