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Australia business conditions ease a little, still strong
[SYDNEY] Australian business conditions showed a slight easing in December but stayed strong for a fifth straight month with sales, profits and employment remaining in positive territory, a survey reported on Monday.
National Australia Bank's monthly survey of more than 500 firms showed its index of business conditions slipped 3 points to +7 in December, but that was still above average.
Capacity utilisation, a measure of the underlying health of the economy, fell to 80 per cent from 80.8 per cent, NAB noted.
Business confidence also eased back to +3 from +5 in November, holding in positive territory despite growing worries about global growth and large declines in oil prices.
"Positive business conditions in most industries suggest a relatively broad-based recovery in the non-mining sector is underway with services leading the way, although the deterioration in construction will be monitored closely," said NAB's chief economist Alan Oster.