Australia business confidence improved sharply in the fourth quarter, suggesting a strong rebound from the large pandemic-related hit to activity in early 2020, survey results from NAB showed on Thursday.

The business confidence index rose 22 points to +14 from -8 in the third quarter. Confidence turned positive in all industries and strongest in retail.

At the same time, the business conditions index climbed 14 points to 9 in the fourth quarter.

The increase in business conditions was driven by an improvement in all three sub-components, with trading conditions and profitability well above average. The employment index remained negative despite recording a solid gain.

Leading indicators also improved further in the fourth quarter. Expected business conditions at the 3- and 12-month horizons rose to high levels and suggest further gains in activity over the next year.

“Our business surveys show that despite the unprecedented size and speed of the hit to activity in Q2 and some ongoing smaller shutdowns, that the economy is continuing to rebound strongly,” Alan Oster, NAB group chief economist, said.

“Further, capacity utilisation suggests that the level of activity may be restored much faster than anyone would have expected around mid last year,” Oster added.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com

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