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Borrowing by business has grown at its fastest annual pace in more than three years but the lower interest rate environment doesn't appear to be having the same effect in the consumer market.
This means the business sector is leading the way in an economy in which consumers worried about job security and rising living costs are more focused on running down household debt.
The monthly credit data from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) show that demand for owner-occupier home loans grew by just 0.2 per cent in June, dragging the annual growth down to 4.9 per cent, the weakest result in at least 22 years.
Demand for personal loans outside of mortgages declined by 0.2 per cent to be 1.5 per cent lower than a year earlier, the weakest result in about two and a half years.
This happened even though the RBA delivered 75 basis points of cuts to the cash rate in May and June.
Commonwealth Securities economist Savanth Sebastian said Australians were being cautious because jobs were being lost despite a very strong mining sector.
"A sizeable lift in consumer confidence will be required to justify a turnaround in household spending," Mr Sebastian said.
In contrast, business credit grew by 0.5 per cent in June for an annual rate of 4.4 per cent, the fastest rate since March 2009.
Westpac senior economist Andrew Hanlan believes business borrowing has turned the corner after a sharp contraction during 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
"Firms are now making greater use of credit to fund rising investment expenditure," Mr Hanlan said.
The results compare favourably with a private sector survey by credit data group Veda, which found that business applications for credit in the June quarter were about half the rate of the first three months of this year.
But Veda general manager for commercial credit and supplier risk Moses Samaha said on Monday the group's findings indicated that real gross domestic product (GDP) growth was softening.
Meanwhile, an annual KPMG survey showed that 46 per cent of private companies feel their business prospects in the short term are poor or very poor, up from 24 per cent in 2011.
KPMG private enterprise head Peter Siebels said companies were more nervous about the future and believed Australia had entered a downward shift in the economic cycle.
"There is a sharp deterioration in sentiment from our two previous surveys, similar to what we saw in 2008 when the international banking crisis was unfolding," Mr Siebels said.
"Gloomy news from Europe and domestic factors - like the consequences of a high Australian dollar for our manufacturing, tourism and some areas of agriculture - are the major influences."
The building industry also believes a recovery in the sector is still likely to be many months away, although other new data indicate the worst might be over.
Approvals for new buildings fell by 2.5 per cent in June.
But the result was better than expected and Master Builders Australia chief economist Peter Jones said it signalled the recent "disastrous slide" in approvals could be coming to an end.
Based on information provided by and with the permission of the Western Australian Land Information Authority (2013) trading as Landgate.