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Confidence lifts as business sales improve in Q4

The outlook for Australian business has become more optimistic in 2014, with ANZ’s newly-launched ANZ Business Sales Trends report showing business sales rose by close to 4.0% over the year to December quarter 2013 (‘y/y’).

The biggest markets of New South Wales (3.0% y/y) and Victoria (3.5% y/y) saw modest growth but business sales growth in New South Wales improved each quarter throughout 2013.


There was noticeable strengthening in the Northern Territory and Tasmania, and in retail sales in South Australia. Growth in the resources states of Western Australia and Queensland was more modest, particularly in Western Australia relative to recent years. The ACT showed only modest growth.


ANZ Managing Director Corporate and Commercial Banking, Mark Whelan, said: “We’re seeing new signs of confidence in the market. The combination of low interest rates and the lower Australian dollar are providing businesses with a tailwind for growth.


“While it took time for these factors to be reflected in business sales, we certainly saw it in a stronger Q4 and there are signs that the first half of 2014 will follow suit.


“Tasmania and South Australia have had it pretty tough over the past couple of years so it’s encouraging to see signs that things have bottomed. We are also seeing people start to gradually reinvest in their own businesses.


“While growth in the largest state economies of New South Wales and Victoria remained relatively soft in Q4, New South Wales’ improvement throughout 2013 is a good sign for 2014,” Mr Whelan said.


ANZ Head of Australian Economics, Corporate and Commercial, Justin Fabo, said the retail sector outperformed the non-retail sector in Q4 – reversing the trend of the previous quarter.


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