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Business expects year of sales growth

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Business optimism about future sales activity has jumped to a 10-year high.

The latest Dun & Bradstreet Business Expectations Survey shows the majority of Australian businesses are more hopeful about growth than they were in 2013.

Sales expectations are at their highest level since 2003, the research showed.

The lower Australian dollar, low interest rates and healthy Christmas trade had boosted business confidence, Dun & Bradstreet said.

Twenty per cent of businesses intend to borrow to expand their business, 38 per cent expect higher profits and 32 per cent see no major barrier to their growth.

But the lower currency isn’t good news for all businesses – 27 per cent expect a positive impact but 31 per cent expect the falling Australian dollar will hurt them.

Inflationary pressures were also building, the report said.

“The steep lift in sales expectations is a confident statement from the business sector, which is viewing this year with healthy levels of optimism,” Dun & Bradstreet chief executive Gareth Jones said.

“Firms are reporting fewer obstacles to growth this year and revealing a greater willingness to start accessing credit to expand their operations.

“However, the continued rise in the selling price index and forecasts of higher unemployment this year have the potential to curb future sales activity.”

Dun & Bradstreet economic adviser Stephen Koukoulas said the survey was good news.

“The economy is clearly responding to an easy monetary policy and the lower Australian dollar, perhaps too well, and it would be no surprise to see the Reserve Bank of Australia start hiking interest rates in the months ahead,” he said.

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