CANBERRA, AAP – Businesses deciding to close their doors are increasing as they concede they are no longer viable after government support measures during the COVID-19 recession wound up.
But while credit reporting agency CreditorWatch says external administrations are rising, on an annual basis they have fallen for more than 13 consecutive months.
“The average number of external administrations over the last six months is 14 per cent lower than for the six-month period to September 2020,” CreditorWatch chief executive Patrick Coghlan said.
“We expect to see a rise in the number of administrations, especially with JobKeeper having come to an end.”
The end of the JobKeeper wage subsidy last month has raised concerns about the impact on businesses and the labour market.
Treasury has estimated the end of the subsidy could see as many as 150,000 lose their job.
Still, businesses conditions more broadly were upbeat in March, touching a record high, according to the National Australia Bank monthly business survey.
Business confidence eased slightly, but remained well above average.
NAB chief economist Alan Oster said strong forward orders point to ongoing strength in activity, even without JobKeeper.
The survey was conducted between March 19-31, so did not take into account the decision by the nation’s health authorities to recommend the AstraZenaca vaccine not be given to people aged under 50.
This followed cases abroad of blood clotting among younger people after having the vaccine. Two such cases have been recorded in Australia.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has since announced the government will no longer set targets for the remainder of the vaccine rollout, a timetable that was already in tatters.
Even so, the weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index jumped 5.9 per cent, reaching its highest level since September 2019 and sprinting past its long-run average.
This was seen as the result of last week’s announcement of the two-way trans-Tasman travel bubble boosting confidence about a return to some normality and offsetting worries over the vaccine rollout.
The monthly Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment survey is due on Wednesday.