Business confidence has improved markedly since the depths of last year’s recession, but economists expect it is still too early to see the improved mood translating into new investment.
Australian Bureau of Statistics private sector capital expenditure (capex) data for the December quarter are due for release on Thursday.
Economists expect private capex in the quarter to have declined 0.3 per cent following the three per cent drop in the September quarter, which left annual growth down 13.8 per cent.
However, economists will be scrutinising investment expectations that are contained within the report for the outlook.
Like Wednesday’s construction work figures for the December quarter, the latest data will feed into next week’s national accounts, which contain the latest economic growth figures.
Construction fell 0.9 per cent, when economists had expected a one per cent rise in the December quarter.
While residential building rose 2.7 per cent in the quarter buoyed by low interest rates and government initiatives, non-residential building dropped 2.4 per cent and engineering fell 2.8 per cent.
It suggests business investment will again be a drag on the growth result.
What is known so far in the quarterly growth calculation, retail spending rose by a healthy 2.5 per cent in the quarter.
Other quarterly data for company profits, business inventories, international trade and government spending are released early next week.