Australian business conditions deteriorate in Q4

Sydney, Feb 7 (IANS) Business conditions in Australia weakened in the fourth quarter last year, deteriorating to their lowest level since the June quarter 2009, a quarterly business survey released Thursday by the National Australia Bank (NAB) showed.

The NAB survey showed the business conditions fell to an index level of minus six in the December quarter, the lowest level in three and a half years.

It also showed business confidence edged lower in the quarter, falling to an index level of minus five, the weakest result since the March quarter 2009, reported Xinhua.

The negative index readings suggest the number of businesses that believe conditions deteriorated in the December quarter is greater than those that believe conditions improved, and that pessimists outnumber optimists about the outlook for early 2013.

"It appears that recent interest rate reductions have done little to alleviate business worries about the currently soft state of the local economy," the bank said in a statement.

"Weak indicators of future demand, global concerns, a still high Australian dollar and fiscal consolidation are likely to be weighing on expectations."

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