Business Investment And Building Approvals Fall As Construction Slowdown Bites

- Aug 31, 2018-


    Australian business is still showing a surprising reluctance to pull out the   chequebook and invest.

Private capital expenditure fell 2.5 per cent over the second quarter, a far weaker outcome that the 0.6 per cent expansion the market forecast.

Over the year, capex has only edged up 0.4 per cent in the Australian Bureau of Statistics seasonally adjusted series.

Investment was weak, particularly in new buildings and structures, with all the sectors — mining, manufacturing and "other' industries — spending less on construction.

Spending on plant and machinery also fell.

The better news in the figures was the upward revision of spending expectations for the 2018/19 financial year.

The forecast was upgraded from the first quarter estimate of $88 billion to $102 billion.


Investment may have peaked

Capital Economics analyst Paul Dales said the final number is likely to come in closer to $110 billion, which would still be 7 per cent below last year.

Mr Dales said overall there were worrying signs about the investment recovery.

"The second quarter Private Capital Expenditure Survey supports our view that GDP may have risen by just 0.5 per cent in the second quarter and that growth in business investment may have already peaked," Mr Dale said.

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