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Australian Business Conditions Jump to 2008 High in Show of Strength

  • Conditions improved almost across board, including W.A.: NAB
  • Longer-term outlook clouded as LNG, commodities, housing fade
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Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

Australian business conditions jumped to the highest level since February 2008, signaling the economy could be set to strengthen.

A gauge of business conditions -- measuring hiring, sales and profits -- jumped to 14 in March from 9 in February, the highest reading since January 2008, the National Australia Bank Ltd. survey showed. The index has gyrated in the first three months of the year and the March reading may have been influenced by a cyclone that hit Queensland late in the month, curbing responses from the state, NAB said. Business confidence slid to 6 from 7.