Australian Economy sluggish even without floods, figures suggest

Australia's economy is not out of the woods yet, with new figures suggesting business conditions will remain hard across the country for some time yet.

While a number of recent reports have warned that the recent floods seen in Queensland will hit everyday consumers hard, with banks tipped to put up rates on debit cards or home loans in order to compensate for their losses, figures show that this may have been the case even without the natural disaster hitting.

Indeed, according to the National Australia Bank (NAB), business conditions were weakening at a steady rate towards the end of 2010, with its business conditions index dropping markedly several weeks before the first of the floods hit.

Notably, several of the sectors most likely to impact upon the lives of ordinary Australians, such as utilities, finance and agribusiness were all seen to suffer at the end of the year, with conditions found to be tough in the state of Victoria as well as Queensland.

Meanwhile, shares in some of Australia's biggest banks have taken a hit in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake.

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