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Australian Business Confidence Stays Near Lowest in a Year

Oct. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Australian business confidence hovered near the lowest level in a year as falling commodity prices and a weaker mining boom weighed on the outlook for hiring and orders, a private survey showed.

The third-quarter confidence index increased to minus 2 from a revised minus 3 in the April-June period, National Australia Bank Ltd. said in a survey released today. The gauge of current conditions rose to 1 from minus 2, it showed.

“Business confidence improved marginally in the quarter, but remained at downbeat levels,” Melbourne-based National Australia said in the report. “Global uncertainties especially on the mining outlook, the persistently high Australian dollar, weak forward orders and the impact of fiscal consolidation are weighing on firms’ future expectations.”

National Australia’s confidence index for the next three months held at 5, it showed. The employment gauge held at minus 1 and the reading on forward orders stay at minus 2. The survey of more than 900 companies was conducted Aug. 27 to Sept. 12, National Australia said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brendan Murray in Sydney at brmurray@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Phang at sphang@bloomberg.net

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