NAB CEO’s 2024 economic outlook

  • Economy

NAB CEO Ross McEwan says Australia is well-placed to recover in 2024 as Australians respond quickly to sharp cost of living increases.

  • 19.01.2024
  • Time to read 1 min read
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NAB CEO Ross McEwan says Australia is well-placed to recover in 2024 as Australians respond quickly to sharp cost of living increases.

The Australian economy, like most around the world, slowed last year.

Looking ahead to 2024, NAB CEO Ross McEwan is optimistic on the outlook despite the economic challenges that have emerged.

“The local economy is in reasonable shape. We should avoid recession, but it is slowing and will feel tougher for some time yet,” Mr McEwan said.

“There are big issues, including the rising cost of living and lack of housing. But Australia is well-placed to improve later in 2024.”

“We have very low unemployment, strong demand for our natural resources, a growing education export market and high migration levels.”

Customers broadly in good shape

Mr McEwan said NAB saw the more challenging environment drive significant behavioural change last year, with Australians responding quickly to the sharp cost of living increases.

“Our customers are more engaged in their finances than we’ve ever seen,” he said.

“There’s been a significant increase in budgeting and people are cutting back where they feel they most can afford to. That doesn’t mean all discretionary areas, but there is more prioritised spending.

“More than 1.5 million customers are using our online ‘spending’ feature to better track their expenses with usage up 62% in three months.”

Top of interest rate cycle close to giving Aussies more certainty

On interest rates, Mr McEwan said we could now be at the top of the cycle, which would be a relief for many Australian households.

“Data on inflation and retail sales later this month will play a big part in determining the RBA’s next call,” he said.

“But we are close to the top and that’s important. It will allow households to plan with more certainty.”

NAB to continue push for further simplification for business

While many businesses, too, are holding up through the changing environment, Mr McEwan sees an urgent need to make things simpler for small business.

“As the nation’s leading business bank, I have the chance to visit many customers across Australia,” he said.

“Most businesses are showing resilience. We take the time to know our customers to understand when they want to grow and when they need our help. They want banks and governments to keep making things simpler and easier for them.

“There is more work needed to ease the red tape burden on small businesses.”

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