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In November Australian Business Confidence down 5.2pts to 131.1 - signs of 'cooling' following post-election optimism

Source: Business Confidence, Roy Morgan Business Single Source, average monthly sample n = 2,252.
Roy Morgan Research’s November 2013 Business Confidence is down 5.2 points in the month to 131.1. The level of 131.1, is still well above the average of the last three years, however, if the November figure is a sign of further decreases to come in Business Confidence then Australia may see more decisions like Qantas has just announced. These November figures are the results of 1,624 interviews across all industries, business sizes and locations across Australia.

The drop in confidence among business in November was caused by a decline in positive feelings about where the economy is heading in the next 12 months and the next five years. There has also been a small drop in the proportion of businesses considering that the next 12 months are a good time to invest in growing the business.

This decline in Business Confidence in November was across all business sizes, with micro business down 5.4 points to 129.4, small business down 4.4 points to 143.3 and medium/large business down 3.4 points to 146.9.  Medium/large businesses (turnover $5m+ p.a.) have clearly been the most confident over the last three years and in November, despite a small drop off in confidence, they remain at an historically high level. 

Monthly Business Confidence – Australia

business confidence November 2013
Source: Business Confidence, Roy Morgan Business Single Source, average monthly sample n = 2,252.

All states have suffered some loss in business confidence during November, with the biggest losses being in WA and SA.  The most positive is Queensland, currently on 136.4, followed by NSW (134.0).  The states with below average business confidence are Tasmania (124.5), WA (125.6), Victoria (126.4) and SA (131.0).  

Of the major industries, Mining still leads confidence in November with 149.7 (down from 156.4 in October), Retail is around average with 131.6 (up from 126.8 in October) and Construction is on 127.9 (up from 122.9 in October).  The agricultural sector remains well below average with 121.9 but was up slightly on the 118.7 recorded in October.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“The sharp decline in business confidence in November following the highs in the previous two months created by the Federal election was probably to be expected to some extent as market realities hit, but a number of events have combined to increase this uncertainty.

“The November result was most likely impacted by the extensive press coverage of the budgetary situation and the need to lift the debt ceiling by two hundred billion dollars, which appears to have been a complete turn-around from the picture that was presented prior to the election.  The issues surrounding the Gonski school funding also created uncertainty and confusion around what the Government was likely to change next.

“Other events that are likely to have contributed to a more negative outlook for business included the spying controversy regarding Indonesia, problems in the car manufacturing industry and forecasts that the growth in the Australian economy was slowing.  The decline in the Australian dollar was obviously a positive for exporters but would also have had a negative impact on the import of goods.

“During November the ASX 200 declined by 2 percentage points, which was obviously a reflection of some negative feelings regarding the Australian economy.

“Despite these negative impacts, the level of business confidence in Australia remains above the average seen over the last three years but it has shown itself to be very sensitive to any local or overseas events which are difficult to predict.”

For comments or more information please contact:
Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director
Telephone: +61 (3) 9224 5172
Mobile: +61 402 014 474
Email: Norman.Morris@roymorgan.com

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About Roy Morgan Business Single Source

The Roy Morgan Business Single Source survey began in May 2010 and currently conducts more than 2,500 interviews per month to measure abroad range of business characteristics including Business Confidence, Business Finances, Business Telecommunications and Business Media. The survey coverage extends to all Australian businesses, across all business sizes, industries, and regions.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4