14 Nov 2011

Boost in business confidence

6:59 am on 14 November 2011

A cut in interest rates by the Reserve Bank of Australia for the first time in two years seems to have given confidence there a bit of a boost.

The rate was lowered on 1 November to 4.5% from 4.75%.

Radio New Zealand's Sydney correspondent reports Westpac's consumer sentiment index rose 6% this month and into positive territory for the first time since June.

The biggest improvement was in sentiment about the broader economy, although people's assessments of their own finances are still weak.

Separately, there was news of a surprise fall in unemployment for October from 5.3% to 5.2%, with a second consecutive month of jobs growth.

More quarterly wages data is due on Wednesday and Thursday.