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Early 2013 may be difficult: Vic business

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AAP

February 06 2013, 00:01AM

MELBOURNE, Feb 6 AAP - Business confidence is stabilising but early 2013 could be challenging with business conditions expected to weaken, a survey from Victoria's peak business body says.

The Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) survey shows more than 40 per cent of respondents expect no change to both national and state economic conditions in the year ahead.

"While concerns remain, the level of business confidence appears to be stabilising," VECCI chief executive Mark Stone said in a statement.

But expectations for the March quarter are that general business conditions will weaken.

"This highlights the many challenges that Victorian businesses are currently facing, with declines expected in profits, employment and investment," Mr Stone said.

Sales were up, according to December quarter figures, but prices fell, placing profits under pressure, Mr Stone said.

Regional respondents were slightly more pessimistic about 2013 than their city cousins.

VECCI says the survey highlights the case for interest rate cuts early in the year and pro-business government policies.

"Now that the federal election date has been revealed, Victorian businesses will be looking closely for policy announcements from both major parties that support business efforts to improve productivity, invest in new equipment, products and services, and grow employment," Mr Stone said.