Business confidence boosts on change of Australian PM

Canberra, Oct 13 (IANS) The rise of Malcolm Turnbull to Australia’s top job has given businesses a reason to be confident, the latest confidence index figures show on Tuesday.

The National Australia Bank’s monthly business confidence index, released on Tuesday, rose four points in September to plus five, recovering August’s decline but leaving the index below its mid-year peak, Xinhua news agency reported.

ANZ and Roy Morgan’s weekly consumer confidence index has also risen 5.1 percent to a 15-week high for the first week of October, largely attributed to a recovery on the local market, stronger Australian dollar and change of prime minister.

Turnbull toppled former prime minister Tony Abbott in September, a key factor in boosting confidence, ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan said in the release.

To sustain confidence, Australia’s government needs to present a credible economic story to the nation, Hogan said.

“This is necessary in the current economic environment, where there are numerous headwinds to sentiment and economic activity including soft wages growth, weak investment and an easing outlook for the housing sector,” Hogan said.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) warned against economic pessimism on Tuesday, stating that business conditions were above average overall.

“Businesses are happy to hire workers, the cost of debt is low, consumers are spending at a reasonable rate,” RBA deputy governor Philip Lowe told an investment conference in Sydney.

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