Transport and logistics optimism shines despite dark clouds

Sensis survey shows small to medium industry players expect s boost but business confidence remains low

Transport and logistics optimism shines despite dark clouds
Optimism is up and confidence may follow.


Australian transport and warehousing operators are seeing something to look forward to in the coming year, according to the Sensis Business Index (SBI) survey of small to medium enterprises.

At a time when the market has left their colleagues internationally feeling particularly bruised and their own confidence is down, most of those Sensis researchers contacted refuse to be cowed.

"Overall, the report found the transport and storage sector is optimistic about a positive 2016, despite market conditions affecting confidence in the last quarter," a Sensis spokesperson says.

Last quarter sentiments were negative on four of the indicators – sales (-20), profitability (-14), wages (-11) and employment (-7).

However, they were positive for prices (+7).

In this quarter, expectations are slightly positive ranging from +2 for sales and profitability) to +5 for prices.

"A difficult quarter has dented confidence in this sector but hopes are quite high for 2016," the researchers say.

"This sector continues to fluctuate on confidence which fell six points to +24, making it one of the least confident sectors.

"A positive attitude is the primary driver of confidence in this sector.

"Unfavourable business conditions and decreasing sales characterise the views of those who are concerned."

For the economy as a whole, Sensis reports business confidence leaping to its highest level since March 2011, registering a net balance of +39.

The survey shows more than three times as many businesses are now confident (57 per cent) as those who are worried (18 per cent), representing a 12 point rise in confidence among businesses in the December quarter (+27 to +39), with confidence going up in every state and territory except the ACT.

"Businesses told us that the key factors driving confidence are the specific strengths of their business, growing sales and being well established," Sensis CEO John Allan says.

"The Index, which reflects the views of 1,000 small and medium businesses from across Australia, also showed that confidence in the federal government has gone up six points (+1 to +7) in the first survey to be taken since Malcolm Turnbull took over as prime minister.

"The new prime minister has had a positive impact on overall perceptions of the federal government and there has also been a halo effect on confidence, with a number of businesses highlighting this as a reason for their views.

"However, the government still has some work to do to regain the levels of support seen following the popular federal budget in May 2015."

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