Suncorp economist Darryl Conroy warned Gympie businesses of changing times in a
Suncorp economist Darryl Conroy warned Gympie businesses of changing times in a "patchwork economy". Craig Warhurst

Big changes for Gympie business

GYMPIE businesses need to "prepare for battle" and not hunker down in the hope the world economic storm would pass, business people were told yesterday.

Suncorp economist Darryl Conroy told a Gympie Chamber of Commerce breakfast it was important to plan for a changing future, with shifting ground in fields as diverse as politics, economics, consumer demand and technology.

Problems affecting the Gympie region were a reflection of hard and uncertain times around the world, he said.

But despite the difficulties, a show of hands at yesterday's function showed most business people retained an optimistic view of the future.

Outlining the patchy economic conditions affecting Australian business, Mr Conroy said it was similar all over, only worse in many other advanced countries.

"In Europe the only question is 'How bad is it going to get?" he said.

The US was looking at a double-dip recession and world economic engine, China, was experiencing a big slowing of its growth.

"Low interest rates have created opportunities but businesses still have to work out how they can continue to operate," he said.

"The resources boom is dragging the economy higher, but the non-mining sector is in more difficult circumstances," he said.

Lower interest rates were positive for borrowers but not for retirees and many other investors.

"There's a flip side to every coin," he said.

Australia had been lifted by historically high commodity prices, but now prices were starting to come back.

"Falling commodity prices are a scary beast."

There was pressure for structural change in the economy and many businesses as the non-mining sector were "pushed, pulled and squeezed," he said.

Gympie Times


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