Australia's small businesses are frozen by economic uncertainty

Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Sentiment among Australia’s small and medium businesses is in neutral, dampened by worries about the economy.

A new quarterly survey, the Bankwest Future of Business 2017 Outlook Report, gauges expectations among small to medium businesses for their overall prospects, health, performance and the economy to establish.

Part of the report is the Bankwest Business Sentiment Index, which shows sentiment hit by perceived economic uncertainty both at home and abroad. The index:

Optimism about their debt repayment capacity, business prospects and industry outlook in the next three months has been offset by concerns over the Australian and global economies.

“This trend is apparent for both small and medium businesses,” says Sinead Taylor executive general manager, business banking Bankwest.

“However, key differences lie in sentiment towards business performance, with medium businesses displaying significantly greater optimism than small businesses for both revenue and profit expectations and small businesses more confident in their debt repayment capacity and industry outlook.

“Despite the economic uncertainty, Australia’s small and medium business sector remains in good shape. Three quarters are confident in their overall prospects in the next three months, and close to half expect an increase in revenue or profit.”

The findings in the report are based on a survey of 500 business owners, leaders and managers, conducted by CoreData in December 2016.

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