The Straits Times
Published on Nov 13, 2012

Australia business activity falls in Oct, according to survey


SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian business conditions fell in October to their weakest levels in more than three years as wholesalers and manufacturers suffered from slack demand, while signs of subdued inflationary pressures bolstered the case for further cuts in interest rates.

A monthly survey of around 400 firms by National Australia Bank (NAB) found firms complaining of a high local dollar, tighter fiscal policy and a softer global economy.

As a result, the survey's main measure of business conditions fell 2 points in October to stand at -5, the lowest since May 2009. The index of business confidence eased 1 point to stand at -1, reversing some of the gains seen the previous month.

"Businesses were more downcast in October, with the pessimism particularly apparent in the mining and construction sectors," said NAB chief economist Alan Oster.