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Contrary to the general opinion of most economists, the recent statement put out from the Reserve Bank, is far more confident of growth than previously thought. This is also against a backdrop of slowing and volatile emerging markets created by the US Federal Reserve wanting to reduce stimulus. Residential building construction is projected to expand and consumer demand is increasing.
The fall in the Australian dollar recently has had the effect of improving business confidence and inflation is not out of control. Consequently interest rates are expected to be put on hold for the next few months. The Bank is looking ahead for a period of stability with cash rates remaining at 2.50%. This outlook is positive for business. Businesses are looking for a period of slow, balanced but upward consolidation so that they can plan ahead with some confidence rather than a booming economy when strong corrective measures could be expected from the Reserve Bank.
Employers in the small and medium business sectors are also looking to cut penalty rates and other linked conditions. They are being backed by the Government which is seeking changes to the award system and which has put forward overtures to the Fair Work Commission. There are presently high job losses in the hospitality and retail sectors because ofthe high payments to employees required under the award. This puts aside the growth at all costs scenarios of previous periods.
Against this backdrop SMEs can look forward to a positive and more stable year ahead. Encouraging for management as they seek growth and control of costs.