The confidence of small and medium business owners across Australia has slumped in the three months to March, with the most dramatic falls in Victoria and Tasmania.
The Sensis Business Index for the quarter ending March showed business confidence down 9 percent to 46 percent, down from 55 percent December quarter.
“We have seen a softening in business confidence nationally this quarter,” said Sensis Market Intelligence deputy group manager Christena Singh.
“However, business sentiment has been most severely dented in Tasmania and Victoria than anywhere else in the nation.”
Tasmania’s business confidence slumped 14 percent to 52 percent.
“We’re seeing business confidence in Tasmania down on the back of some of the best trading conditions we’ve actually seen in the state for over a year,” she said.
“Sales, profitability are both up but business is negative, often to do with quite paradoxical issues such as some of them have too much work on at the moment.”
Results in New South Wales were still down, but not by as large an amount, with confidence down 3 percentage points to 49 percent in the March quarter.
The Sensis Business Index gauges activity at businesses with up to 199 employees nationwide, based on a sample size of 1800 in metropolitan and regional areas.