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Consumer confidence in Australia is in the "danger zone", according to the latest figures released by ANZ and Roy Morgan. In their weekly consumer confidence index, the statistics have remained broadly unchanged since last week, only rising by 0.1 per cent to 109.8.
This tiny rise comes off the back of a previous decline in confidence from the previous week of 2.3 per cent, which has left confidence at an eight-month low.
This means there are likely to be tougher economic times ahead for business in Australia. Being able to manage cashflow finance when customers and suppliers are finding it harder to pay their bills is going to have an effect on many businesses.
Roy Morgan identified that the small upswing in confidence was thanks to the outlook that households had on their financial situations. In addition to this, there was a rise in the number of people who thought it was the right time to buy a household item.
However, these few positive signs were offset by deteriorating confidence around the outlook for the economy as a whole. Many Australians were not confident the next federal budget would be able to solve problems caused by falling export mineral prices and slowdowns in many of the country's top trading partners.
For the next 12 months, the sub-index on economic conditions dipped by 4 per cent. For the next five years, this dropped by 3.4 per cent. According to ANZ and Roy Morgan, theses indices remain well below their long-term averages.
"Given the apparent sensitivity of the Australian consumer to budget issues, it will be important to monitor consumer confidence closely over the weeks ahead. Our main concern for the economy would be another strongly adverse response to the budget as seen last year. This not only risks undermining retail spending but also business confidence more widely," said ANZ Chief Economist Warren Hogan.
Companies should be aware that there are ways to handle payroll finance issues in tough economic times. Businesses can get funding within five days to pay their employees if they have an unexpected expense or are chasing after late accounts.