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Australia NAB Business Conditions Weaken; Sentiment Improves

Australia's business conditions weakened in July reflecting the decrease across most industries, while confidence edged higher, survey data from the National Australia Bank showed Tuesday.

The business conditions index fell 2 points to +2 in July driven by a decline in the employment sub-indicator.

Meanwhile, the business confidence index rose to +4 from +2 a month ago, driven by an improvement across industries. Sentiment remained highest in mining.

The NAB said the business sector has lost significant momentum since early 2018 and forward looking indicators do not point to an improvement in the near term. The lift in confidence following the election appears to have faded with little impact on actual conditions.

According to NAB, both the cut to interest rates and boost to tax rebates is yet to feed into the business sector and that the weakness in the second quarter has persisted into the third quarter.

"With a significant loss of momentum in activity, and inflation indicators remaining weak, the survey points to the need to the need for further stimulus in the economy," Alan Oster, NAB Group chief economist, said.

"Indeed, we expect a further easing in interest rates from the RBA and think that some greater fiscal support will be needed from the government to kickstart growth," Oster added.

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