Despite the pockets of optimism driven by low interest rates and the slow consumer confident, a tough trading and tight cash flow are restricting business spending.
Signs of financial pressure have eased in Australia during the first quarter of the year with further signs of economic conditions stabilising.
Australians are demonstrating a less cautious approach to spending money, with more consumers planning to use their credit cards this quarter.
More consumers are planning to use their credit cards this quarter with savings being less of a focus, according to the latest Dun & Bradstreet survey.
Fewer executives are planning to make a capital investment into their business during the coming months.
Businesses are kept waiting 52 days for payment, according to the latest Trade Payments Analysis by Dun & Bradstreet.
Australian businesses anticipate modest sales activity, difficult trading conditions and subdued consumer activity over the next few months.
Fewer Australians are expected to take on debt as the demand for credit remains flat.
The outlook for selling prices during the first quarter of this year is expected to fall to a historic low.
Capital investment expectations have reached the highest level in nearly 10 years.
Customers are expected to remain cautious in the lead up to Christmas, with non-essential spending expected to fall as consumer concern about financial security rises.
Retailers are expected to rely on discounting to lift sales this Christmas as selling prices now reach the lowest level in more than two decades, according to the latest Dun & Bradstreet survey.
Despite the Australian Bureau of Statistics' reported slow down in retail spending in July, retailers expect there'll be a surge over the Christmas period.
Despite lingering uncertainty in the current economic environment, expectations among Australian businesses soared to levels that had not been seen in almost 10 years.
According to the latest Dun & Bradstreet Trade Payments Analysis, the number of payments falling within the standard 30-day term fell 16.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter.
Retailers are bracing for the worst as they lower their earning expectations in anticipation of pessimistic sales for the September quarter.
Business optimism for the September quarter 2012 has plummet as a result of growing uncertainty over interest rates and continued pressure from the high Australian dollar.
Businesses are paying their bills more than three days faster than 12 months ago, however, payment days remain substantially above pre-GFC levels.
Staffing costs are a growing concern for retailers as they say it will have the biggest influence of their operations in the June quarter, according to a Dun & Bradstreet survey.
The consistently high Australian Dollar has got many local businesses worried, particularly those in retail and manufacturing, according to the latest Dun & Bradstreet national business expectations survey.
The number of small businesses going bankrupt jumped by 48 per cent over the last 12 months, while small business start-ups fell by 95 per cent over the same period.
Sales expectations in the latest Dun & Bradstreet national business expectations survey are now at their strongest level since the December quarter 2003.
Dun & Bradstreet's business expectations survey for the March quarter 2012 indicates that retailers will continue to remain substantially cautious compared to 12 months ago.
While the escalating situation in Europe is affecting overall business confidence, retailers are bucking the trend, according to Dun & Bradstreet's business expectations survey.
The study found that two-thirds of businesses took longer than the standard 30 day period to settle their accounts.
This comes off the back of better than expected results in the September quarter and the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to cut in interest rates, according to Dun & Bradstreet.
More than 50 per cent of firms that were surveyed in the latest Dun & Bradstreet business expectations survey anticipate demand to slow over the next 12 months.
The national survey of manufacturing, wholesale and retail businesses found that in June, 45 per cent of retail executives responded that interest rates would be their biggest influencer.
Expectations are particularly weak for the retail sector, which continues to struggle to entice consumer spending even with sustained discounting.
Business expectations continued to decline with weak consumer spending and rising fuel prices, according to the April results of the latest Dun & Bradstreet business expectations survey.
The Dun & Bradstreet business expectations survey shows that although the positive outlook is shared across all sectors, retailers report this is some of their most difficult circumstances for years.
Australian business executives have given a mixed outlook on the economy as employment growth and capital investment confidence deteriorates, but sales and profit expectations improve.