Helped by a slightly more positive job market, business confidence increased by 2 points to 6 in April, after falling 3 points to 4 in March, according to the survey.
''Business conditions [were] more subdued in April but confidence [was] up marginally – shrugging off 'tough budget' rhetoric,'' said NAB chief economist Alan Oster.
“Sales eased slightly, employment slightly better but still soft, profits weaker,” he added.
Despite the marginal improvement in confidence, the trend remains down on last year’s highs, with no signs of an immediate reversal.
Soft forward orders and headwinds from business investment and a soft labour market suggest the lower trend will continue over coming months, according to Mr Oster.
The survey results have forced a rethink by NAB on interest rates, with the bank now of the belief that the next movement will be up.
“We now expect Q1 GDP to be stronger (mainly net exports) and unemployment to peak marginally lower, prompting us to drop our call for a rate cut in November (subject to Budget),” said Mr Oster.
“Rate rises not till late 2015,” he added.