Tassie leads nation in business conditions in January

CONFIDENCE: NAB's monthly report measures business conditions and confidence. Picture: Shutterstock
CONFIDENCE: NAB's monthly report measures business conditions and confidence. Picture: Shutterstock

Tasmania’s business conditions improved more than any other state or territory in January. 

The National Australia Bank’s January survey revealed that economic conditions in the state improved by 24 index points for the month, ahead of Queensland and New South Wales with 18 and 17 point increases respectively. 

NAB’s chief markets economist Ivan Colhoun said while there was no way to pinpoint reasons for the January increase, longer-term trends indicated significant growth. 

“If you look at Tasmanian business conditions, they have been very good now for nearly two or three years,” he said.

“One reason was the Australian dollar came down quite a lot, and Tassie has quite a lot of manufacturing and exports – a lower Aussie dollar does help [exports].

“Interest rates came down across the country and that helped Tasmania as well.”

NAB’s report suggested that business conditions improved nationally due to increased sales and business profitability for the month of January, while employment conditions were left largely unchanged.

Construction was a big mover nationally in January, according to the report, showing the biggest leap in business conditions and the second-largest leap in business confidence. 

The mining sector posted the largest jump in business confidence for the month. 

Mr Colhoun believes the Tasmanian construction activity has followed the national trend. 

“It looks like housing approvals are picking up again, rents have been rising and there seem to be a few more cranes around the Hobart skyline,” he said.

“It’s also heading North though and there are some more projects happening in Launceston.

“The dairy industry has also done very well and the tourism story has kept going very strongly.”

Launceston Chamber of Commerce executive officer said the results were consistent with what he has witnessed locally. 

“All sectors of the economy that I speak to comment how good business is at the moment – an anecdotal trend confirmed by the NAB survey,” Mr Grose said.

The NAB’s Monthly Business Survey contacts more than 400 companies across the country every month to monitor profitability and productivity.   

It began as a quarterly report in the 1980s and has been released monthly since 1997.