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Business confidence turns the corner



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I

Media Release S l a t e Chamber of

State Chamberpot Commerce (NSW) Commerce

10 D ecem ber 1998

BUSINESS CONFIDENCE TURNS THE CORNER

Business confidence has undergone a transformation in last three months, according to figures from the St George Bank Business Expectations Survey released today.

The survey, for the December quarter, was undertaken by the State Chamber of Commerce during late November and had over 620 respondents from every business size and sector in New South

“Business confidence in the performance of both the Australian and NSW economies has leapt relative to the last survey*,” said Stale Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Katie Lahey.

“The survey found that 79% of respondents expected the Australian economy to become stronger or remain about the same, compared to 53% in the September quarter. The news was even better for the NSW economy, with S3% expecting the economy to strengthen or remain about the same, compared with 05% in the last survey.

“The optimism stems from reported improvements in general business conditions, sales revenue, export sales, selling prices, profits, and investment in buildings and plant and equipment since the last survey.

“Business in NSW may well be emerging from the gloom created by the Asian financial crisis. Other contributing factors to the business optimism may be the increased stability of the international financial system and greater political certainty since the October Federal Election," Ms Lahey said.

"The sur/ey also found strong support for the Federal Government's tax reform package. S4% of respondents supported the Federal Government’s Tax Reform package, while 54 % of the businesses surveyed do not believe that the Senate has a mandate to block or amend the passage of

"The Federal Government should note that a significant 62 % of the businesses support a lowering of the company tax rate at the expense of abolishing existing business tax concessions.

“However, the Government obviously still has some work to do in winning over business on the tax issue, as 51% of the respondents think that the cost of complying with tax payments and reporting systems will increase under the Federal Government’s Tax Reform package.

".And business again signalled its reservations over the Job Network issue, with just 39% of businesses satisfied that the Federal Government has listened to business concerns about the Job Network," said Ms Lahey.

Wales.

the GST.

- e n d s - C o n ta c t: S u s a n R e d d e n Tel: (02) 9350 8105 Mob: 0412 179 215

D e ta iled fig ures f o ll o w

Page 1 Of 2

PAGE 2 December Quarter 1998 Results

ST GEORGE BANK/STATE CHAMBER BUSINESS EXPECTATIONS SURVEY

A ustralian Economy

Sept Qtr 9S Dec Qtr 98

Stronger 20.1% 32.2%

Weaker 47.3% 21.1%

About tlie Same 32.6% 46.7%

Overall balance -27.2% 11.1%

Reported Indicators

General Business Conditions

Sent Qtr 98 Dec Qtr 98

tip 40.3% 45.3%

Down 23.7% 22%

About the Same 35.9% 32.7%

Overall balance" 16.6% 23.3%

Sales Revenue

i i Sept Qtr 98 Dec Qtr 93

i Dp | 46.7% 51.5%

i Down 25.6% 24.4%

| About the Same 1 27.7% 24.2%

| Overall balance | 21.2% 27.1%

Exports

Sept Qtr 95 Dec Otr 98

i Vo 32.3% 38.8%

, Down 29.7% 27.9%

j About the Same 3S% 1 33.3%

; Overall balance 2.6% 1 11 %

Profits

i j Sept Qtr 9S Dec Qu 98

! Up i 29.3% 34%

! Down 1 31.2% 29%

j About the Same ! 39.6% 37%

Overall balance 1 -1.9% 5%

Selling Prices

| ! Sept Qtr 98 1 Dec Qtr 93

! Up

1 21.2% 1 22.4%

i Down 1 21.6% | 20.9%

i About the Same I 57.3% | 56.7%

i Overall balance ! -0.4% I 1.5%

NSW Economy

Sept Qtr 98 Dec Qtr 9S

Stronger 19.6% 34.9%

Weaker 34.9% 17.4%

About the Same 45.6% 47.6%

Overall balance -15.2% 17.5%

Employment

Sept Qtr 98 Dec Qtr 93

Dp 25.1% 1 17.2%

Down 15.3% 5%

About the Same 59.6% | 77.8%

Overall balance 9.9% 1 12.2%

Overtime

I Sept Otr 98 l Dec Otr 98

U p 1 18% 1 22.6%

Down 1 16.1% | 13.3%

About the Same 65.9% I 64.2%

Overall balance i 1.9% I 9.3%

Wages

Sept Qtr 98 Dec Qtr 98

Dp 35.5% 26.5%

Down 3% 2.8%

About the Same 61.5% 70.7%

Overall balance 32.5% 23.6%

Non-Wage L abour Costs

i | Sept Qtr 98 Dec Qtr 98

i Ud 1 30.5% 23.7%

j Down 1 4.5% 4.6%

1 About the Same 1 65% 71.8%

j Overall balance | 25.9% 19.1%

Investm ent in Buildings

Sept Qtr 98 Dec Qtr 98

Up 19.1% 26.2% .

Down 10.9% 10.8%

About the Same 69.9% 63% -

Overall balance 8.2% | 15.4%

Investment in P lant & E quipm ent

i__ Sept Qtr 98 Dec Otr 98

Up 33.6% 41.8%

Down 9.5% 10.2%

About the Same 57% 48%

| Overall balance 24.1% 31.6%

■ "or business confidence, overall balance = % 3L.-o.ngei' - % weaker. " For reported indicators,

O', trail balance - % up - % down.