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11 Sept 2018 (AFR) – Capital spending drives Japan’s fastest expansion since 2016

(11 September 2018, AFR, p14, by Tetsushi Kajimoto) ‘Tokyo | Heavy capital spending in the second quarter drove Japan’s economy to its fastest growth since 2016, underscoring the view that capex continues to back the economy even as trade tensions and a string of natural disasters pose risks to the outlook. Revised Cabinet office data … Continue reading

31 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Capex numbers point to ‘worrying’ sign investment has peaked

(31 August 2018, AFR, p8, by Patrick Commins) ‘A surprise fall in business investment over the June quarter likely weighed on economic growth, economists say, even as firms upgraded their planned spending for 2018-19. Total spending on buildings and machinery unexpectedly dropped 2.5 per cent in the three months through June, after advancing an upwardly revised … Continue reading

1 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Business investment plans gather steam in September quarter

(1 December 2017, AFR, p12, by Jacob Greber) ‘Business investment spending plans for the current financial year have been upgraded over the past three quarters by the most in 12 years, adding to signs the economy is headed towards a more sustainable and balanced expansion. The upgrades in company spending plans for 2017-18 have jumped … Continue reading

6 Sept 2017 (AFR) – Goldman Sachs finds capex recovery not as bullish as it appears

(6 September 2017, AFR, p15, by Vesna Poljak) ‘Optimism that the capital expenditure strike is over and signs of companies allocating more money towards investment may be overstated and symptomatic of a different phenomenon – the need for “defensive” capex. Economists were emboldened by the pick-up in the quarterly private investment survey last week that … Continue reading

1 Sept 2017 (AFR) – Corporate Australia ramps up investment, raising hopes for economy

(1 September 2017, AFR, p1, by Jacob Greber) ‘Australia’s corporate sector is finally planning to plough more of its profits back into investment, ramping up spending plans and curbing defensive dividend payouts that have contributed to sluggish economic growth over the past five years. In official figures supporting the Reserve Bank of Australia and government’s view … Continue reading

2 June 2017 (AFR) – Capex rises for the 1st time in 5 quarters, retail sales surge 1pc

(2 June 2017, AFR, p4, by Jacob Greber) ‘A four-year slide in investment by companies shows nascent signs of bottoming out as firms boosted spending for the first time in five quarters and upgraded their outlook for the coming financial year. While the shift is unlikely to deliver any significant uptick in overall economic growth – … Continue reading

8 Nov 2016 (AFR) – Warnings for food and grocery sector as capital investment slumps

(8 November 2016, AFR, p16, by Sue Mitchell) ‘Food and grocery manufacturers have renewed calls for tax cuts and investment allowances following a slump in capital investment to the lowest levels since the global financial crisis. Capital investment in food, beverages and tobacco fell 14.2 per cent in 2014-15 to just over $2.7 billion – the lowest level since 2009-10 – according to the Australian … Continue reading

2 Sept 2016 (TheAge) – Capex: investment outlook the worst since 2010-11

(2 Septembe 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p21, Peter Martin) ‘New investment intentions figures point to a shocking financial year ahead with mining investment down 22 per cent, manufacturing investment flat, and other investment down 16 per cent. The Bureau of Statistics figures, collected from the chief financial officers of the major companies, are bleaker than … Continue reading

27 May 2016 (AFR) – Business investment shrinks in March quarter

(27 May 2016, AFR, p8, by Mark Mulligan) ‘Business investment contracted sharply in the March quarter, as non-mining expenditure again failed to much of the slack left by Australia’s resources downturn. The Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday that private sector March-quarter capital expenditure on buildings, equipment, plant and machinery shrunk…’ Read more (and see the graph of capital expenditure … Continue reading

9 Dec 2015 (AFR) – Rio Tinto cuts capex for second time in four months

(9 December 2015, AFR, p13, by Amanda Saunders) ‘Rio Tinto is taking the knife to capital investment for the second time in four months, slashing another $US1.5 billion over two years, as iron ore prices plunged below $US40 a tonne. But chief executive Sam Walsh insists the iron ore industry is “sowing the seeds of recovery … Continue reading

28 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Alarming signs on the supply side – Weakening supply side makes reform mandatory

(28 November 2015, AFR, p16, by Alan Mitchell ) ‘Australia is falling back to earth. Not only is it losing the temporary boost from the mining investment boom, the economy’s underlying potential growth rate is slowing. Treasury deputy secretary Nigel Ray told the annual conference of the Australian Business Economists on Tuesday that the Australian … Continue reading

27 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Capex buried in wake of mining crash – Record investment slump as iron ore squeeze forces more cost cuts

(27 November 2015, AFR, p4, by Jacob Greber ) ‘The plunging iron ore price has forced mining companies to accelerate cost-cutting, triggering the biggest investment crash on record just as major mines and energy plants near completion without any replacement projects in sight. In figures that challenge nascent signs of a recovery in business conditions, … Continue reading

27 Nov 2015 (TheAge) – Capex slide puts budget forecasts in doubt

(27 November 2015, The Age, BusinessDay, p27, Peter Martin, Economics Editor, The Age,  View more articles from Peter Martin) ‘Business investment is collapsing at a record pace as resource companies accelerate cutbacks amid slides in coal, iron ore and gas prices. New capital expenditure figures released on Thursday show investment collapsed 9.2 per cent in … Continue reading

31 Aug 2015 (AFR) – WA chills as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue cut $20b spending

(31 August 2015, AFR, p4, by Julie-anne Sprague ) ‘A dramatic $20 billion cut in operational spending by the nation’s three biggest iron ore miners is chilling a West Australian economy already under stress from falling investment in resources-related construction. Analysis by The Australian Financial Review reveals that since 2012, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and … Continue reading

30 May 2015 (AFR) – ‘Wealthy selfies’ crimp corporate growth – SMSFs’ demand for dividends part of capital spending slide

(30 May 2015, AFR, p1, by Simon Evans and Jacob Greber) ‘Sir Rod Eddington, one of Australia’s most experienced directors, has warned the booming number of self-managed superannuation investors is causing companies to pay out their cash in dividends rather than re-investing, amplifying the economic slowdown. Speaking after the Australian Bureau of Statstics revealed a … Continue reading

29 May 2015 (AFR) – Expenditure survey paints bleak picture – Recession looks a reality

(29 May 2015, AFR, p28, by Philip Baker ) ‘Just how bad is the investment outlook in the latest official survey of business capital expenditure? It’s very bad, and the sort of number you do see in a recession. As Betashares chief economist David Bassanese said, that might not come to pass, but the weakness in … Continue reading

29 May 2015 (AFR) – Alarm as business capex dives – Business refusal to invest weighs down economy

(29 May 2015, AFR, p1, by Simon Evans , Vesna Poljak , Patrick Durkin , Jacob Greber ) ‘Corporate Australia is defying the Reserve Bank of Australia’s push to accept lower returns.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access)

4 Mar 2015 (AFR) – Resources spending slump takes hold

(4 March 2015, AFR, Special Report – Resources, p1, Angela Macdonald-Smith and Peter Ker) ‘Doing more with less has become the mantra of the resources sector, which, thanks to the oil price collapse, has extended beyond mining into energy. Last week’s analysis of big-project spending by ANZ laid bare just how steep the downturn has … Continue reading

27 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Investment spending outlook slumps to weakest in five years

(27 Feb 2015, AFR, p8, Jacob Greber) ‘A business spending strike threatens to make next financial year the worst for investment in half a decade, according to an official survey that supports the Reserve Bank of Australia’s view that further interest rate cuts may be needed. Amid speculation the Reserve Bank may double up this … Continue reading

8 Jan 2015 (TheAge) – Oil slump puts skids under projects

(8 Jan 2015, The Age, BusinessDay, p18, Angela Macdonald-Smith) ‘Billions of dollars worth of projects face an uncertain future amid write-downs and job losses across Australia’s battered oil and gas sectors as the global oil crash deepens. As prices plummeted to levels not seen for almost six years, there are predictions that major oil and … Continue reading

28 Nov 2014 (TheAge, SMH) – Business spending climbs in September quarter – Spending outside the miners raises economic hopes

(28 Nov 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p28, Mark Mulligan) ‘Business spending on new plant, equipment and buildings rose slightly in the September quarter, as investment in non-resource sectors continued to compensate for the downturn in mining-related infrastructure. The Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday that, seasonally-adjusted, total new capital expenditure rose 0.2 per cent … Continue reading

29 Aug 2014 (TheAge) – Unexpected capital expenditure jump defies experts’ predictions

(29 August 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Stephen Cauchi) ‘New private capital expenditure has rebounded in the June quarter, rising 1.1 per cent and defying economists’ expectations of a decline. The seasonally adjusted figure rose 1.1 per cent to $37.646 billion, aided by a 2 per cent rise in buildings and structures to $25.293 billion. … Continue reading

30 Jul 2014 (TheAge) – Resource sector spending yet to bottom

(30 July 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p25, Brian Robins) ‘Pressures on companies servicing the mining and energy sector are showing few signs of easing after laboratory testing operator ALS revealed a sharp profit fall as it moved to boost cashflow following recent acquisitions. The underlying net profit after tax for the six months to the end of … Continue reading

30 May 2014 (AFR) – Too soon to worry about capex spending drop

(30 May 2014, AFR, p28, David Bassanese) ‘Despite swirling negativity surrounding the economy in recent months, the latest official survey of corporate Australia’s investment intentions was not as bad as feared, with an encouraging upgrade to planned spending for next financial year and a modest rise in actual spending on plant and equipment in the … Continue reading

30 May 2014 (TheAge, SMH) – Business investment intentions a cause for hope: economists

(30 May 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p24 Sydney Morning Herald, Gareth Hutchens) ‘There are signs that non-mining parts of the economy are finally picking up, and economists are quietly surprised. The Bureau of Statistics capital expenditure survey, released on Thursday, shows business investment has fallen by 4.2 per cent this year, driven by a huge … Continue reading

29 Nov 2013 (AFR) – Capex data boosts $A off record lows

(29 Nov 2013, AFR, p27, Jason Murphy) ‘A burst of capital expenditure in the mining sector dragged the Australian dollar off its lows on Thursday, after strong US jobs and manufacturing data boosted the greenback.’ ‘The dollar fell to US90.7¢ – its lowest level since early September – before official data was released on new … Continue reading

29 Nov 2013 (AFR) – Capex surges as low rates spur demand

(29 Nov 2013, AFR, p5, Jacob Greber Economics correspondent) ‘The stubborn business investment freeze that has bedevilled non-mining sectors of Australia’s economy for the past year shows nascent signs of a thaw, with an unexpected lift in company spending last quarter.’ ‘Led by a jump in outlays for buildings and structures, total capital expenditure rose … Continue reading

31 May 2013 (AFR) – Capex falls sharply, planned spending grows

(31 May 2013, AFR, p8, Jacob Greber Economics correspondent) ‘Companies modestly upgraded investment forecasts for the next financial year, but economists warned much of the increase was being driven by resource project cost blowouts, adding to doubts about drivers of national economic growth.’ ‘The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ heavily anticipated quarterly capex report showed overall investment … Continue reading