No boom, but Gympie stable
THE economic news was far from all bad this week, as Gympie Region businesses continue to hold their own against some very negative world trends.
The news came with two reports, the Gympie Regional Council Business Confidence Survey results and the moderately encouraging ANZ Small Business Sales trends report.
Although 75% of Gympie businesses reported they were treading water or experiencing some weakening of business conditions, this included 28% who said things were "about the same".
With 25% who had experienced "somewhat stronger" or "much stronger" performance, the "glass half full" brigade showed that 53% had experienced stable or improved conditions.
Sentiment about the future also showed a reasonably balanced spread of expectations, with 45% expecting things to remain "about the same".
The 20% expecting things to become "somewhat weaker" could not match the optimism of the 26% who expected moderate improvement.
But 8% expected things to become "much weaker" compared to only 1% who expected conditions to strengthen substantially ("much stronger").
This made an almost even spread with 72% going for the same or better and 73% expecting the same or worse.
The ANZ report showed small business sales across Australia had increased by 3.3% year on year in December.
"This was the eighth consecutive month of positive annual growth in sales for small businesses, driven by growth in the mining states as well as non-retail services sectors.
ANZ general manager small business Nick Reade said: "The December figures reflect a reasonable Christmas trading period overall, with sales up 3.3% year on year."
Commentary from Suncorp Bank financial markets analyst Darryl Conroy accompanying the Gympie business confidence survey said the region was "in a similar position to other local Australian economies due to uncertainty in global financial markets, with these impacts flowing through to the local economy and community".