Australian business conditions have pulled back from their record highs.
The National Australia Bank index of business conditions fell 6 points to +14 in March.
Although that was still well above the long-run average of +5.5, it reversed gains in the previous two months.
The employment index eased back to +9 in March, down from an all-time high of +16 the month before.
Still, that index is at an historical high.
Profitability slipped 4 points to +14 in March, and the sales index eased 4 points to +20.
Business confidence fell 2 points to +7.
Significantly, the survey was conducted after US President Donald Trump escalated trade tensions by announcing tariffs on at least $50 billion of imports from China, Australia’s largest single export market, which responded aggressively.
The fall in business confidence also coincides with the ongoing market volatility.
The survey results would be closely noted by the Reserve Bank of Australia which keeps talking about its optimism about the business outlook.
NAB chief economist Alan Oster said the figures were still positive, despite the fall.
“The strength in business conditions and leading indicators are consistent with stronger economic growth in coming quarters and the employment index is pointing to strong jobs growth which should reduce unemployment,” Mr Oster said.