CANBERRA, AAP – Business conditions and confidence rose in October buoyed by the easing of e coronavirus restrictions in the NSW and Victoria.

National Australia Bank’s business conditions index rose six points in October to 11 index points, rising back above its long-run average and with all its components rebounding.

“Conditions have held up fairly well through the lockdown period, but the resilience of businesses was beginning to wear thin in September,” NAB chief economist Alan Oster said.

“So it is pleasing to see a quick rebound in NSW with restrictions mostly lifted.”

He said there is still scope for things to improve further in coming months, particularly in Victoria, but overall it was an encouraging result.

NAB’s business confidence index also jumped 11 points to an index of 21 points.

“Confidence began to rebound last month as reopening plans were announced, and that continued in October as businesses saw those plans begin to become a reality,” Mr Oster said.

A large improvement in forward orders provided further evidence that a strong rebound in economic activity is under way.

Meanwhile, Deloitte’s annual retailers Christmas survey found 80 per cent of retailers are expecting to see sales growth this holiday period, 20 percentage points higher than in 2020.

More than half of respondents expect sales to bounce back rapidly post COVID-19 lockdowns, while 60 per cent say more than half of the Christmas sales will be digital-enabled in some way.

“Digital offerings are likely here to stay, but Christmas has alway been about the physical shopping experience,” Deloitte’s David White said.

“As the vaccine-led reopening and recovery takes hold and retailers welcome cashed-up customers back to their stores, they finally feel they have something to be optimistic about.”

However, retailers still face some challenges with more than half concerned about receiving sufficient stock for Christmas and nearly three-quarters worried that rising shipping costs will pressure their margins.

“Global supply chains have come under pressure as the world’s consumers emerge from the pandemic, and Australia is not immune from the fallout,” Mr White said.

Even so, 90 per cent of retailers expect trading conditions to improve over the next 12 months.

“Clearly, the reopening of Australia both internally and internationally will be good for consumers and the economy,” he said.