Sharp increase in confidence welcomed Tue 14 August 2012 Lara Giddings Premier A significant increase in business confidence has been welcomed by Premier, Lara Giddings. The NAB Monthly Business Survey shows that the confidence increased by 16 points in July, making Tasmanian businesses the most confident state in the country. "Trading conditions remain tough for Tasmanian businesses, particularly in sectors exposed to the effects of the high Australian dollar," Ms Giddings said. "It is encouraging to see signs that confidence is returning to the economy however, I acknowledge that there is still much more work to do. "It is incumbent on all sides of politics and community leaders to continue to help build confidence because that is what will drive consumer spending, economic growth, investment and job creation. "An uplift in consumer spending will also help to grow the national GST pool which has positive flow-on effects for the Tasmanian Budget." Ms Giddings said a 2.2 per cent increase in new car sales for July was further good news for the Tasmanian economy. "We have now seen five consecutive months of growth, with more than 9100 new cars sold in Tasmania since Jan 2012." It comes on the back of near-record personal lending finance figures reported this week. "Total lending finance has jumped by more than 30 per cent over the past two months, which combined with the recent boost in housing finance, points to better times ahead."