Australian construction activity fell again in Q1

By Leith van Onselen

The ABS has released data on the value of construction work done for the March quarter of 2019, which registered another 1.9% seasonally-adjusted decline in total construction activity over the quarter and a 6.0% decrease over the year:

The result badly missed analysts’ expectations of no change (0.0% growth) in construction activity over the quarter.

The 1.9% quarterly decline in construction activity was broad-based, with both building construction (-0.4%) and engineering construction (-3.9%) falling in real terms:

Residential construction – which was the saviour as the mining investment boom unwound – also fell by 2.5% over the quarter but rose by 3.2% over the year:

Over the March quarter, the fall in construction activity was driven by WA (-$700m) and VIC (-$300m):

The most important information to come from this release is that construction activity should detract from March quarter’s GDP growth, which is due for release early next month.

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