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Australia NAB Business Confidence Falls Sharply In December

Australia's business confidence declined sharply in December as the spread of the Omicron variant threatened to dampen the economy's post-lockdown momentum, survey results from NAB showed on Tuesday.

The business confidence index dropped 24 points to -12 in December from +12 in November. Sentiment deteriorated in all industries except mining.

"The confidence index fell below the level recorded at the beginning of the Delta outbreak, showing just how concerned business are about the current virus wave," NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster, said.

The business conditions index fell 3 points to 8 in December. The fall in conditions was driven by the employment index, which fell 9 points. Profitability was up 1 point and trading conditions remained unchanged at +14 index points.

"Overall, the December survey results are consistent with an economy that's starting to slow, with some similarities to the data when NSW and Victoria were first entering lockdown," said Oster.

"That probably means conditions will fall in early 2022. However, we don't expect the Omicron variant to derail the recovery longer-term," Oster added.

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