5250.0 - Australian Business Expectations, Mar 2002 and Dec 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/12/2001   
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December 20, 2001
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Australian Business Expects 'Business As Usual'

The dramatic events of recent months appear to be having little impact on the expectations of Australian businesses, according to a survey of business expectations released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Director of the Survey, Ms Merry Branson, said the results, which were based on ABS contact with more than 4,500 businesses nationwide, presented a valuable snapshot of business expectations. The survey provides an in-depth reference about business expectations that takes into account industry, size and State perspectives. This quarter's survey was collected during October and November 2001.

Ms Branson said that in trend terms for the March quarter 2002, all key indicators are showing decreases in business expectations. Businesses are expecting operating income to decrease by 0.6%, selling prices by 0.4%, profit by 7.4% and full time equivalent employment by 0.9%.

However, the decreased expectations are similar to the expectations experienced by business 12 months ago, Ms Branson said.

In original terms, operating income is expected to decrease in the short term by 3.0%. Businesses of all sizes and in all industries are expecting decreases. The expected decrease by large businesses (3.6%) is the largest expected decrease since the commencement of the series in the December quarter 1993.

Businesses in the retail industry are expecting the largest decrease in operating income (5.3%), while businesses in the electricity, gas and water industry are expecting the smallest decrease (0.3%).

In original terms, businesses are expecting full time equivalent employment to decrease by 0.1% in the medium term (December quarter 2002). Although still in decline, the December quarter expectations are continuing the improvement shown in the previous quarter.

Details are available in Australian Business Expectations March Qtr 2002 and December Qtr 2002 (cat. no. 5250.0) available from ABS bookshops. This media release and the main features of the publication are available on this site. If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication contact the ABS Bookshop in your capital city.