COVID-19: Business confidence crashes as coronavirus pandemic continues

TOUGH TIMES: Business confidence is crashing as the coronavirus pandemic continues, survey results show. Photo: FILE
TOUGH TIMES: Business confidence is crashing as the coronavirus pandemic continues, survey results show. Photo: FILE

BUSINESS conditions are deteriorating rapidly as the coronavirus crisis continues with widespread revenue losses and staff cuts, Business NSW's Vicki Seccombe says.

The impacts of restrictions on businesses and non-essential gatherings have been revealed in the latest Business Conditions Survey.

Business NSW Western regional manager Ms Seccombe said respondents in the survey revealed the nature and extent that multiple economic shocks have had on the NSW economy during the first quarter of 2020.

"The responses from business owners across the state and Western NSW are no surprise, but at the same time make for very sober reading," she said.

"The survey shows the transition from early-phase impacts relating to supply chain interruptions and reduced overseas visitor arrivals to the full-scale economic crisis we are now seeing.

"Business conditions have deteriorated rapidly."

Ms Seccombe said there has been a doubling of COVID-19-related revenue losses reported by respondents between weeks one and two of the survey period.

"Businesses have had to enter hibernation with significant adjustments to staffing levels and capital spending, and it's clearly the case that some won't make it through to the other side," she said.

"The impact of COVID-19 on confidence is most apparent when examining business expectations for the next quarter where confidence has fallen at an unprecedented rate.

Business NSW Western regional manager Vicki Seccombe. Photo: FILE

Business NSW Western regional manager Vicki Seccombe. Photo: FILE

"While it is clear that COVID-19 represents the most significant threat to the economy, Western NSW has also been acutely impacted by other factors, such as drought and to some extent bushfire. Drought was already affecting business viability across the region, and this could be the final straw.

Ms Seccombe said staffing and capital spending indicators had fallen sharply suggesting businesses were no longer investing and are in the process of reducing staffing costs.

She said it was worrying that Western NSW businesses are spending less with their professional service providers.

"While this is understandable, it's important that all our businesses seek the advice of local professionals who can advise on the specifics of their particular business," she said.

"All of these trends are consistent with what has been observed through Business NSW's daily engagement with businesses over the past several weeks and why it's so important that every tier of government do all that is possible to keep businesses in operation and staff employed.

"When given the all clear to resume normal business operations, we need to be in the best possible position to do that as quickly as possible."

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This story Business confidence crashes as coronavirus pandemic continues first appeared on Daily Liberal.