Turnbull Govt gives some hope

4 November 2015

The country's change in leadership and low interest rates has helped Australian chief financial officers' (CFOs) confidence despite concerns over China, according to Deloitte.

Deloitte's CFO Survey, covering Q3 2015, found Federal Government policy was a net positive influence for the first time since Q1 2014.

Deloitte managing partner in Sydney, Dennis Krallis, said the positive trend in terms of greater optimism since the beginning of the year had slowed.

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"But it's important to note that there are also confidence boosters. Low interest rates, a weak dollar, and the change in leadership in Canberra, with the widely held perception that the new-look government is more open to tax reform and innovative policy, have all helped to temper the China impact," he said.

"These local forces shouldn't be underestimated, and we believe it will take time for their true positive potential on confidence to be realised."

The survey found net five per cent of CFOs reported that confidence levels had increased, back to levels expressed during 2014 and a low result compared to 24 per cent in Q2 and 21 per cent in Q1.

"Local and global uncertainty hadn't been a particularly strong influence on CFO optimism in the first half of the year, but news regarding slower growth coming out of China, and its scale and relevance to Australia, now appears to be hitting a nerve," Krallis said.

"Net 68 per cent of CFOs reported that news from China was a negative influence on optimism, the most downcast response since early 2013, when China had released its worst growth figures in nearly 15 years."

Krallis noted that while a significant majority of CFOs anticipate current concerns will ease within two years, 18 per cent believe it will persist indefinitely.

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