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Catherine Birch, senior economist at ANZ, notes that construction activity in Australia fell 0.4% q/q in Q3 2019 to be down 7.0% y/y and was the smallest decline since the downward trend began in Q3 2018.

Key Quotes

“Residential construction (-3.1% q/q) continued to fall although the Q2 result was revised up to -3.9% from -5.1%. The annual decline has stretched to -10.6%. New residential building fell 3.5% q/q while alterations and additions were flat at -0.1% q/q. New South Wales was responsible for almost three-quarters of the quarterly drop in total residential work done, but Victoria achieved a 1.5% q/q gain.”

“Non-residential building jumped 4.0% q/q with both the public (+3.7% q/q) and private (+4.1% q/q) sectors contributing. Activity has been volatile in 2019, but the uplift in approvals looks to be starting to translate through to work done.”

“The expected upturn in mining does not appear to be flowing through to work done numbers yet, with private engineering construction falling 4.6% q/q. Public engineering construction recorded a solid 6.4% q/q gain, but we still expect activity to dip in 2019-20 as some major projects wind down before others get underway.”

“Construction work done is the first of the GDP partials. The better-than-expected result paints a slightly more positive picture for Q3 GDP growth (Wednesday 4 Dec).”