ASX 300 Quarterly Business Survey – September 2012
The ASX 300 Quarterly Business Survey captures the views of the ASX 300 business community and is a key peer comparator for companies. It aims to share business insights and an understanding of economic confidence for the quarter.
- Business conditions improved in the third quarter of 2012, with ASX 300 firms recording a net balance of +9 points in September, compared with 0 points in our June survey. Strengthening in profits and trading led to improved business conditions in Q3.
- Business confidence with ASX 300 eased further, following a sharp decline in our previous survey. The decline was largely driven by lower confidence among firms in the Manufacturing and Mining sectors.
Focus on Mining
- Business conditions: Mining has deteriorated over the past year – with ASX 300 expecting neutral conditions in Q4. Outside the Mining sector, the improvement in ASX 300 business conditions was driven by strengthening in some of the previously weaker performing sectors – particularly Retail, Manufacturing and Wholesale.
- Business confidence: ASX 300 Mining confidence has plunged since late 2011, now the weakest sector overall. Confidence for the non-Mining ASX 300 was relatively stable in September.
- Forward orders: The Mining sector is weaker than average – with no improvement seen in Q4. For non-Mining sectors the deterioration in forward orders anticipated for the December quarter is driven by weaker expectations in Wholesale and Transport, Utilities & Communications, while there was a strong increase in Finance, Business & Property Services.
- Sales margins: Mining has fallen significantly in recent quarters – as commodity prices have pulled back from high levels. It is expected to remain weak in the short term. For the rest of the ASX 300 sectors, sales margins were relatively stable in Q3, and are expected to remain stable into Q4 as well.
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