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Andrew Hanlan, analyst at Westpac, notes that the Australia’s NAB business survey showed that the business conditions index fell by 3pts to +4, while the business confidence fell by 2pts to +2.

Key Quotes

“Also, this survey suggests that the sharp loss of economic momentum that emerged from around mid-2018 has extended into 2019. Hopes of a New Year rebound appear to be forlorn.”

“Soft conditions extending into 2019 fits with our reading of the economy. Westpac is forecasting real GDP growth to be 2.2% in 2019, a below trend pace, which will see the unemployment rate move higher.”

“Business conditions details for February are: trading conditions down 2pts to +8; profitability down 4pts to +1; while employment moved sideways, at +5.”

“Retail business conditions plunged even further, from -14 in December and January to -24, the weakest 3 month period since 2013. Conditions in the key construction sector slipped below zero, to -5. The last time the construction sector index was consistently in negative territory was in 2013.”