What’s up? Economic-growth predictions for the coming year

Australia has shown itself to be robust throughout a tough few years precipitated by the global financial crisis (GFC), but how does the year ahead look?

Although many countries across the globe floundered in the wake of the financial crisis, Australia managed to keep on a comparatively even keel. Boasting stronger property markets and employment figures than many contemporaries and having avoided housing-market crashes and dotcom disasters, are Australia's finance businesses looking to a bright future?

Confidence in Australia's growth

Robert Half recently surveyed 160 CFOs across the country, 86 per cent said that compared with the past 12 months, they were confident in Australia’s economic-growth prospects in the coming year. Of those, 32 per cent they were very confident in the future.

This conviction could serve businesses well in the coming months, as 2015 looks set to present a number of challenges. The majority of bank-based economists have been expecting the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to raise interest rates in the new year, but, as Business Insider reports, experts predict that a variety of weaknesses in the global (and Australian) economy could see rates slashed again.

Deutsche Bank economists believe that a levelling off in the housing market and regulatory measures to improve lending quality will work with existing factors to drive interest down to 2 per cent. Adam Boyton, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Australia, also predicts the unemployment rate will peak at 6.75 per cent.

Potential benefits of an interest-rate cut

Although the Australian Bureau of Statistics gross domestic product (GDP) data shows the economy has changed by only 2.7 per cent over the year to September 2014, a cut in interest rates could have a positive impact on a number of businesses.

What's more, in December 2014, the Australian dollar dropped to its lowest point since mid-2010 – a major bonus for the already-strong area of export growth. It could also offer relief and potential benefits to sectors such as tourism, manufacturing and higher education, as well as for resources including farmers and mining companies.

Businesses hoping to remain competitive in a global market could view the falling dollar as a silver lining, which could bolster confidence in the coming months. Robert Half research found that, compared with last year, 53 per cent of respondents were somewhat confident their businesses would grow in the year ahead, while 36 per cent asserted they were very confident.

A bright year in finance

Overall, the finance sector is hopeful that despite potential setbacks or challenges, there’s a bright year ahead for business growth. Perhaps this is the perfect time to start recruiting or to look for your next career move. For more insights into the current finance and accounting market, check out Robert Half’s Finance & Accounting Salary Guide.

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