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Business expectations rise

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Business are starting to open their wallets as record low interest rates and greater confidence in the economy encourage them to ramp up investment.

The latest Dun & Bradstreet Business Expectations Survey shows that 19 per cent of businesses plan to increase expenditure, almost twice as many as those who plan to reduce investment.

The index has now risen for a fourth consecutive quarter.

When asked if they are more optimistic about business growth in the new year compared to 2013, 64 per cent said yes, the survey showed.

When asked what is the major common barrier to business, the most common response was “no major barrier”.

Dun & Bradstreet chief executive Gareth Jones said businesses are showing greater appetite for investment, which will be good news for the overall economy.

“We have recently seen sales expectations hit a 10-year high, and so it follows that businesses are also looking to borrow, invest and grow their operations to prepare for increased activity,” he said.

“While recent high profile corporate announcements on jobs and operations in Australia have highlighted the challenges that remain for a number of industries, we are still seeing year-on-year improvements in the general business outlook.”

Dun & Bradstreet economic adviser Stephen Koukoulas is confident that non-mining sectors of the economy will bounce back in 2014.

“The business investment plans have increased, especially in the non-mining sector, which points to at a least a partial offset to the inevitable fall in mining investment,” he said.

“All up, the business sector is moving into the middle of 2014 in sound shape with strong sales, improving capital expenditure plans and a steady view on profits and employment.”

The Dun and Bradstreet survey results is based on responses to questions posed to 830 business executives conducted in January and February 2014.

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