In April, Australia NAB Business Conditions deteriorated further to 3, down from 7 and missed expectation of 4. The surprised jumped in Conditions from 4 to 7 was more than unwound. Business Confidence, though, improved slightly to 0, up from -1, but still missed expectation of 1.

Looking at the details, business conditions, confidence and forwards orders are all below average. More worryingly, there was sharp decline in employment index from 6 to -1, first below average reading since late 2016. By industry, largest fall in employment occurred in retail, manufacturing an wholesale. But overall deterioration was rather broad-based.

Alan Oster, NAB Group Chief Economist noted: “We will continue to watch the employment index as well as the other forward looking variables over coming months for further slowing. In particular, the readings of labour market related variables will remain important as, for now, the interest rate outlook appears to hinge on continuing strength in the labour market”.

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