Businesses are the most confident since mid-2019 and consumer sentiment lifted to its highest level since the pandemic began, helped by the end of Melbourne’s lockdown.

NAB’s monthly business survey showed the confidence index lifted 9 points in October – the highest in over a year and above the neutral level, indicating more optimists than pessimists.

The business survey is the latest evidence that Australia’s post-pandemic recovery has taken hold. NAB chief economist Alan Oster says “the improvement in confidence is encouraging but remains fragile and will likely remain that way until a vaccine is available”.

The upbeat business survey followed news that ANZ- Roy Morgan’s weekly confidence measure lifted to an eight-month high and above the neutral level for the first time since the health crisis struck.

There was a 10% surge in the measure gauging whether it was “time to buy a household item”, which ANZ head of Australian economics David Plank says “could signal a buoyant Christmas shopping period”.