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Positive signs for Australian businesses as key metrics trend up

May 17, 2022

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Positive signs for Australian businesses as key metrics trend up

Despite recent market turmoil, Australian businesses have had reason to look up – both business turnover and retail sales volumes are continuing to rise, according to newly released figures.

Despite recent market turmoil, Australian businesses have had reason to look up – both business turnover and retail sales volumes are continuing to rise, according to newly released figures.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ monthly business turnover indicator showed increases in 12 of the 13 published industries in March this year (seasonally adjusted).

The easing of COVID-19 density restrictions have allowed venues and events to operate at higher capacities, said ABS head of the business indicators branch Branko Vitas, noting rises for arts and recreation services (18.3%) and accommodation and food services (5.9%).

Electricity, gas, water and waste services lifted 7.3% in March, with electricity retailers seeing strong increases in turnover as electricity prices and demand rose across most regions.

Wholesale trade was the only industry to record a fall in turnover in March, decreasing by 4.2%, following two months of strong consecutive rises.

Notably, all industries recorded year-on-year increases in business turnover, ranging from 6% for construction to 38.6% for mining. Rises in commodity prices – including coal, natural gas and iron ore – have contributed to higher turnover in the mining industry over the past 12 months.

These promising results follow a Roy Morgan survey in February that saw business confidence jump by 19 points (18.7%) to 120.5.

There were positive moves across all aspects of the Roy Morgan Business Confidence index, with almost two-thirds of businesses (62.3%) saying they expect ‘good times’ for the Australian economy over the next year.

Further, a majority of business owners (53.1%) said the next 12 months would be a ‘good time to invest in growing the business’.

Meanwhile, another set of ABS figures released this month shows retail sales volumes also rose in the March quarter (1.2%), following a 7.9% increase in the December quarter.

The March increase continues to add strength to retail sales volumes, said ABS director of quarterly economy wide statistics Ben James, adding that volumes are at a record high, up 4.9% through the year.

“Consumer spending (has) returned to familiar patterns seen following previous COVID-19 outbreaks,” Mr James said.

“Most discretionary spending industries experienced rises in volumes, despite price increases.”


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