Confidence and willingness to take on debt had been on the rise since the 2013 federal election, following 12 months of pessimism and uncertainty, the survey said. "Credit is a driving force in the economy and a critical tool for business investment and expansion, making this recent upward trend in borrowing plans particularly encouraging," said D&B head of group development Adam Siddique. "While sentiment has taken a hit since the release of the federal budget, the general outlook for business activity remains well above last year's levels.
Although expectations for sales, profits and selling prices had edged lower, the uptick in borrowing and hiring intentions was a good sign, D&B economic adviser Stephen Koukoulas said. "Overall, it is a picture where the Reserve Bank of Australia is likely to extend the period of interest rates on-hold, which, with rates at current record lows, is likely to remain a positive influence for the business sector over the second half of 2014," Mr Koukoulas said.
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