Business conditions in Queensland have hit ‘rock bottom’ according to the latest Suncorp-CCIQ Business Pulse Survey, where the September quarter revealed that local economic conditions for small and medium enterprises are the worst on record with the confidence index falling to 36.4 points below the indication of optimism of 50 points.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) notes the previously positive sentiment that followed the federal election in May fell sharply as weaker economic growth, negative hiring intentions and decisions by state government weighed on overall confidence.

CCIQ notes that respondents in Regional Queensland are citing fear over job and business viability following core concerns of prolonged drought and lower levels of economic activity across the state.

According to survey responses, income tax cuts announced by the Federal Government have failed their intended purpose of boosting consumption, as retail trade data remains subdued after falling 0.1% for October.

CCIQ Chief Economist, Dr Marcus Smith said the state government who now contends with crisis level confidence indicators, needs to provide immediate relief through targeted spending that supports demand in the near term and ensure that industry sees all levels of government in cooperation.

“The solutions to improving sentiment involve clearly articulated policy initiatives, greater governmental coordination at all levels and encouragement of private sector projects.

“Record bankruptcy levels in the state reflect the difficulties of a global economy where trade wars between Australia’s major trading partners have only served to add another layer of political uncertainty on an already stressed private sector,” Dr Smith said.

CCIQ notes that the Pulse Survey is the largest review of the state’s 438,000 small and medium sized businesses and is sent to a membership panel of more than 38,000 to voice the sentiment of operating and economic conditions in the regions.

Suncorp Head of Business Customers, John Debenham said the findings reaffirmed the need for a greater focus on the opportunities for small businesses and the support available to help rebuild their confidence.

“There is no denying it has been a challenging operating environment for many sectors, which has impacted the appetite of many business owners to invest and take their business forward. The silver lining is that many small business owners are making the most of this low interest rate environment by paying down their debt and deleveraging their assets, meaning many businesses are in good shape – the key thing missing is confidence.

“We are starting to see pockets of positivity across Queensland. The low interest rate environment is enabling businesses to reassess their position and look for new opportunities to invest and grow. Housing affordability is making Queensland an attractive investment market, we’re seeing a greater demand for local produce, and we would expect to see an increase in spending in the tourism hotspots as we head into the summer months.

“While the external challenges can’t be ignored and need to be addressed through greater certainty in policy and initiatives that drive economic stimulus, this is the environment when business owners need to remain focused on their own circumstances and priorities and seek the support of banks like Suncorp to help navigate the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities.”

CCIQ notes that the Pulse Survey is the largest review of the state’s 438,000 small and medium sized businesses and is sent to a membership panel of more than 38,000 to voice the sentiment of operating and economic conditions in the regions.

 

Click here to download the Pulse Survey Report


 

How do you expect the economy to perform over the next twelve months in comparison to the last twelve months?

Queensland Outlook

Australian Outlook

 

Sep-18

Jun-19

Sep-19

Sep-18

Jun-19

Sep-19

Mean response1

3.13

3.28

3.52

3.01

2.99

3.36

Standard error2

0.05

0.04

0.05

0.05

0.04

0.05

Significance3: prob =

0%

0%

 

0%

0%

 

Weaker (%)

29

40

53

24

30

45

Same (%)

53

40

34

52

39

42

Stronger (%)

18

20

14

24

31

13

Index (original)

46.6

42.9

37.1

49.7

50.3

40.9

Index (seasonally adjusted)

45.8

43.6

36.4

49.0

50.9

40.2

1 Coded 1 – 5: (1-Much stronger; 2-Somewhat stronger; 3-About the same; 4-Somewhat weaker; 5-Much weaker)

2 There is a 95% probability that the true mean lies within a range of two standard errors above and two standard errors below the mean response score.

3 Difference in mean response scores relative to September 2019. Level of significance: prob = probability that the observed difference between the mean response scores occurred by chance alone. A probability value of 5% represents a 1 in 20 chance and a value less than 5% is a conventional significance level to reject the null hypothesis that there is no statistical difference between the mean scores.

 

How do you expect the economy to perform over the next twelve months in comparison to the last twelve months?

Queensland Outlook

Australian Outlook

 

SEQ

Regional QLD

SEQ

Regional QLD

Mean response1

3.48

3.62

3.34

3.42

Standard error2

0.06

0.08

0.06

0.08

Significance3: prob =

17%

39%

Weaker (%)

49

59

42

48

Same (%)

38

28

46

38

Stronger (%)

13

13

12

14

Index (original)

38.1

34.6

41.5

39.4

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