Australian Business Investment Rises in 1Q

By James GlynnFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Australian firms raised investment spending by 0.3% in the first quarter from the last three months of last year, helped by increased activity in mining, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.

Economists surveyed had on average expected a rise of 0.5% in investment for the quarter.

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In the year through March, total new capital expenditure fell by 9.3%, the ABS added.

Firms estimated they would invest 6.4% less in 2017-18, compared with an equivalent estimate a year ago. The government data also showed that companies expect to invest 11.4% less in the current 2016-17 fiscal year than an equivalent estimate a year ago.

A sharp drop in mining investment, which has been a major headwind to growth of the Australian economy for a number of years, is easing. The data showed mining investment rose by 0.4% in the first quarter.

But the improved outlook for mining comes as a building construction boom has started to cool, while consumer spending has softened amid record low wages growth.

GDP growth data for the first quarter will be published next week, with some economists forecasting a flat result.

-Write to James Glynn at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 31, 2017 21:54 ET (01:54 GMT)