SYDNEY (Reuters) – A measure of Australian business conditions fell sharply in August reflecting weakness in employment, sales and profitability as Victoria relapsed into a coronavirus lockdown, and though confidence rose it still remained fragile.
National Australia Bank’s
index of business conditions slipped 6 points to -6 from 0 in July.
That was still higher than a low of -34 in April at the height of the pandemic though nowhere close to the long-run average of +6.
The survey’s measure of business confidence did rise but stayed in negative territory. It climbed to -8 from -14 in July.
The index of sales slipped to -2 from +1, and profitability to -3 from +1. Employment stumbled to -13, from -2 in July.
The decline in conditions was broad-based across states except for New South Wales of which Sydney is the capital city.
“Uncertainty around the virus and the global economy remains