A new quarterly survey by Westpac shows Australian businesses juggling reduced consumer demand and other challenges, though being “well positioned” at this early stage in the calendar year, according to the bank.
“Progress on cost inflation is more than offsetting the decline in demand, meaning businesses have fared relatively well and have not yet had to draw on their strong balance sheets,” the Quarterly Business Snapshot — titled Businesses eyeing a brighter year ahead – reads.
Slower business activity — which continued in the December quarter — in a cooling economy was “not the most important part of the story” and that business expected “the worst is behind us when it comes to cost pressures, and that turnover will stabilise” before picking up again as the year progresses.
“While we recognise there are businesses navigating challenging circumstances, our customer data shows many have been able to manage costs to offset any reduction in turnover,” said Westpac Chief Executive, Business & Wealth, Anthony Miller, in a statement on Friday.
“When combined with reduced debt levels or large cash buffers built up during the pandemic, you can see how this is helping to position them for new opportunities as we move into 2024.”
The report is described as using “millions of daily transactions” from business customers and SME surveys conducted by Lonergan Research.
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