SYDNEY, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Australian business conditions deteriorated last quarter as sales and portability waned despite cuts in interest rates, a private survey showed on Thursday.
The quarterly survey of around 900 firms by National Australia Bank found firms fretting about soft demand, a high local dollar, global risks and domestic politics.
The survey's main measure of business conditions dropped to -6, from 1 in the third quarter, to be the lowest since mid-2009. Its measure of business confidence eased a point to -5 over the quarter.
However, NAB's monthly version of the survey released last week showed the confidence index had rebounded over December to stand at 3, from a -9 reading in November.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cuts rates in October and December, taking them to a record-matching low of 3 percent. It held off easing at its February policy meeting this week, saying it was prudent to wait and assess the impact of past easing.
The survey found a marked deterioration in mining which likely reflected sharp falls in iron ore prices over July and August. Yet spot iron ore prices have since more than recovered their losses to reach 14-month highs last month, which could support confidence going forward.
(Reporting by Wayne Cole) Keywords: AUSTRALIA ECONOMY/INDUSTRY
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