Business confidence in South Australia sees spending surge exceeding expectations, survey shows

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A new survey shows business confidence in South Australia has “skyrocketed” since a slump during the coronavirus crisis — as the State Government prepares to deliver its next Budget.

The survey — conducted by Business SA and accountancy firm William Buck — showed business confidence exceeded expectations, jumping by 28.3 points to 95.3 points, the biggest jump in two decades.

“This is a stunning turnaround in confidence,” Business SA chief executive Martin Haese said.

“It’s great news for the business community in South Australia. Confidence has skyrocketed.”

He said business confidence across the state was better now than it was before the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the survey, the September confidence surge followed the lowest confidence index on record of 41.1 points in the March quarter earlier this year.

“Strong consumer demand, a focus on buying local and our state’s open borders have had the cash registers running hot for the majority of businesses,” Mr Haese said.

“According to the survey, 24 per cent of businesses said their revenue was higher than this time last year, showing that trade had not only returned to normal for many, but higher than pre-COVID levels for a healthy number of South Australian businesses.”

Tourism industry still in ‘world of pain’

Mr Haese said that while the boost to business confidence was worth celebrating, it was clear South Australia’s economy remained divided — “those businesses hardest hit by ongoing restrictions and the rest.”

He said 37 per cent of businesses in the hardest-hit sectors were expecting their revenue to be down more than 50 per cent on pre-COVID levels by the end of December, compared to only 13 per cent of businesses not in those hardest-hit sectors.

“The survey shows businesses that rely on interstate and overseas tourists, operate hospitality venues geared around being able to stand and drink, and almost all businesses in the events supply chain are still in a world of pain,” he said.

William Buck managing director Jamie McKeough said JobKeeper was a key reason behind the surge in confidence.

“With JobKeeper 2.0 averting the dreaded cliff, businesses have had time to plan ahead,” he said.

He said the Federal Budget, which included job subsidies, tax cuts and business investment incentives through depreciation and new infrastructure projects, was no doubt also helping business confidence.

(Original ABC Article)