Metropolitan businesses lead optimistic outlook for the year ahead

METROPOLITAN businesses are relatively more positive about prospects for the national economy over the next 12 months compared with their regional counterparts, according to the latest VECCI - Bank of Melbourne survey of business trends and prospects by Victoria's peak employer body.

The state-wide survey of more than 400 businesses found that 40 per cent of Victorian metropolitan businesses expect an improvement in national economic conditions in 2014, compared to 38 per cent of regional businesses holding this view.

Only 14 per cent of surveyed metropolitan businesses expect national economic conditions to weaken in the next 12 months, while 19 per cent of regional respondents expect a deterioration.

Looking at the survey results as a whole, for the first time since December 2011 more businesses reported an improvement in general business conditions during the quarter than did those reporting a deterioration.

While metropolitan businesses were slightly more likely to have experienced stronger general business conditions in the December quarter, their regional counterparts reported more stable selling prices along with a small improvement in exports.

Profitability was under pressure for both groups during the quarter, particularly those in metropolitan Melbourne.

“Confidence in the future prospects of both the state and national economies is vital to driving growth," says VECCI Chief Executive Mark Stone.

“Many parts of regional Victoria have faced difficulties surrounding traditionally strong local industries. However, strong regional employment growth and recent major announcements of new investment in sectors such as food processing and retail should provide a platform for improved performance and optimism.

“Despite improving business confidence, challenges remain and the business community is looking to governments at all levels to play their part by progressing reforms that lower business costs, cut red tape, enhance infrastructure, raise exports and improve education and training outcomes. Reforms in these areas are key to creating new investment and employment."

Bank of Melbourne Chief Executive Scott Tanner concurs: “We have seen an increase in business lending in the past few months. The latest survey supports the proposition that the Victorian economy is gathering momentum and it is pleasing that most sectors in the state recorded an improvement in conditions. Low interest rates and a weaker currency are particularly good news for Victoria.” 

VECCI & Bank of Melbourne partnership

VECCI is pleased to partner with Bank of Melbourne. The bank supports VECCI’s quarterly survey of business trends and prospects, Business Leaders event series and Women in Business event series. The partnership builds on both VECCI’s and the Bank of Melbourne’s mutual goals in supporting businesses in Victoria.

Background – About VECCI

The Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) is the peak body for employers in Victoria, informing and servicing more than 15,000 members, customers and clients around the state. 

Background – About Bank of Melbourne

Bank of Melbourne is helping build a better Victoria. Since launching in July 2011, the bank has tripled its workforce, opened 80 branches and become more involved in the local community. The bank partners with Victorian organisations and events including the MCG and Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and supports industry with initiatives including Agenda Victoria. As a full-service bank, its team of lenders, account executives and industry specialists are supporting Victorian businesses, both large and small.




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