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6423.0 - Producer Price Indexes for Selected Service Industries, Australia, Mar 2000  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/04/2000   
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MEDIA RELEASE

April 18, 2000
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
40/2000
New ABS Report Tracks Service Industry Price Movements
Attention Economic and Business Editors

International air and sea freight prices rose due to strong demand in the March quarter 2000, according to a new service industries report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Main contributors to the transport (freight) and storage division index include: air and space transport up 3.9%, water transport up 2.5% and storage up 0.9% during the March quarter 2000.

The most significant rises in the indexes were in international sea transport (part of the new water transport index), up 5.0% due to increased demand and improved trading conditions, and international air transport up 7.8% due to seasonal demand.

Rail freight prices rose by 0.7% for the quarter. This was the first rise since March 1996 and left the index 5.3% lower on an annual basis.

The ABS report is the first issue of a new quarterly publication, Producer Price Indexes for Selected Service Industries, Australia.

The publication includes statistics for the transport (freight) and storage division and the property and business services division. Further service industries will be added to the publication over the coming year.

In the property and business services division index, real estate agents fees increased by 2.9% due to rising property values, and marketing and business management services were down 6.6% due to seasonal movement in the advertising index relating to the television ratings period. This was despite a 2.4% increase in market research.

Overall the transport (freight) and storage division index rose 0.9% in the March quarter 2000 compared with no movement in the December 1999 quarter, with an annual rise of only 0.1%.

The property and business services index rose 0.8% in the March 2000 quarter, down from 1.5% in the previous quarter. The annual rise was 6.0%.

Further details are in Producer Price Indexes for Selected Service Industries, Australia, March Quarter 2000 (cat. no. 6423.0) which is available from ABS bookshops. The main features of the publication are available on this site. If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication, contact the ABS Bookshop in your capital city. Thank You.





Background: Producer Price Indexes for Service Industries

The development of the PPIs for service industries is an important part of a broad ABS strategic program designed to provide a range of statistics that will improve the measurement of service industries in the Australian economy.

The program was developed in response to the growth in the relative importance of service industries — which now account for some two thirds of gross domestic product — and the significant interest amongst users in assessing the structure and performance of this sector.

In addition to the development of the service industry PPIs, key components of the program include:

(i) The quarterly survey of inventories and sales which traditionally only collected sales from the manufacturing and wholesale industries, but from March quarter 1999 extended coverage to service industries. Estimates from these industries are currently being evaluated and are intended to be released as experimental estimates later this year.

(ii) Extension of the Economic Activity Survey to provide a more detailed annual picture of financial data for the services sector. The second set of experimental series were released in December 1999 and the first production series is due to be published in December this year.

(iii) The establishment of periodic surveys encompassing many Australian service industries which collect statistics on the nature, structure and operation of businesses. New surveys are added each year and information was collected for the first time in 1998-99 on industries such as employment placement and market research. For the 1999-2000 year, service industry coverage has been extended to include plant and household hire services and veterinarians. Also, the Cultural Industry Survey has been expanded to include a comprehensive number of services contained within the cultural industry.

(iv) The conduct of a survey of international trade services which collects information about the services provided to and received from non-residents. This information is important for compiling Australia's balance of payments statistics. The main types of services presented in these statistics are transportation, travel, communication, construction, insurance, finance, computer and information, royalties and licence fees, other business services and personal, cultural and recreational services.

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