Capital expenditure in the year ahead

Each quarter, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publishes a survey of private capital expenditure by business over the year ahead. The Capex survey, as it is called, gives an indication of the pace of business investment in the forthcoming quarters.

In the most recent release, the ABS data also contained the fourth survey estimate of businesses’ planned investment over 2014-15. The estimate suggests a 6.4% annual decline in nominal investment in 2014-15 (see Table ).

Table: Investment intentions by sector and type (Source: ABS)

Table: Investment intentions by sector and type (Source: ABS)

The data are also reported at the industry level. The mining sector, which currently accounts for around half of all capital expenditure in Australia, will continue to pull back on investment in 2014-15, with investment expected to be 15.8% lower over the year.

Total non-mining investment is expected to increase in 2014-15, rising by 4.9%. The construction, finance and property services sectors are all slated for strong business investment over the next three quarters – evidence that low interest rates are flowing through to the economy and boosting activity. However, the manufacturing sector is expected to pull back on investment by 13.8% over the year. But it is worth noting these are only estimates, and an improvement in confidence or boost to activity from the depreciation in the dollar could lead businesses to lift investment intentions.

Read more about this subject and other recent data and economic developments in this week’s Ai Group Economics Weekly Update

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Pip joined Ai Group as a Senior Policy Adviser in 2013. She has broad experience covering economics and public policy, having worked as an economist for the Reserve Bank and Macquarie Bank, as a journalist at the Australian Financial Review in the Canberra Press Gallery, as well as advising a Federal Treasurer. She has a first-class honours degree in Economics and an Arts degree from UNSW.

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