(Photo: Tim Wimborne / Reuters)
Westpac Banking Corporation chief executive Gail Kelly has said she will appear before a Senate inquiry into competition in the banking industry.
The latest Westpac-Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) survey of industrial trends showed that business conditions saw a decline in the June quarter, with the series of interest rates hikes and doubts over the European debt crisis hounding the domestic economic outlook.
The Westpac survey said that business trends slid by 0.4 percent to 56.6 index points in June as compared to the 64.7 points posted during the March quarter though Westpac noted that the headline figure is still the second highest level seen since the first quarter of 2008 and even surpassed the decade average of 52.1 index points.
The survey pointed to successive upward movements of the cash rate in April and May as direct contributor of the dropping business conditions with the gloomy outlook of the European debt crisis and a weakening Australian dollar further consolidating the plunge.
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On the other hand, Westpac said that the solid headline index figures also pointed to "the resiliently robust level of the actual composite index continues to point to a strong pick up in overall private demand and investment growth through 2010."
The survey showed that capacity utilisation improved for the fifth time and manufacturer's investment plans considerably increased beyond the decade average levels while unemployment rate is projected to shrink by five percent in the latter part of the year.
Westpac said that jobless rate would still improve in spite of the labour market composite net balance declining by a point to plus-seven points, as it noted that the dip was still above its decade average of five index points and even at its second highest level since the last quarter of 2007.
Also, the survey found that wage expectations shot up for the fifth consecutive quarter and went beyond their decade average, indicating that further wage inflation could be expected through the last half of 2010.
This article is copyrighted by IBTimes.com.au, the business news leader