5625.0 - Private New Capital Expenditure and Expected Expenditure, Australia, Sep 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/11/2003   
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1 This publication contains estimates of actual and expected new capital expenditure by private businesses for selected industries in Australia. The series have been compiled from data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in its quarterly Survey of New Capital Expenditure.


2 The Survey of New Capital Expenditure includes the following industries classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, ANZSIC, 1993:
Mining (Division B)
Manufacturing (Division C)
Other selected industries:
Construction (Division E)
Wholesale trade (Division F)
Retail trade (Division G)
Transport and storage (Division I)
Finance and insurance (Division K, but excluding Superannuation funds (Class 7412))
Property and business services (Division L)
Other selected services:
Electricity, gas and water (Division D)
Accommodation, cafes and restaurants (Division H)
Communication services (Division J)
Cultural and recreational services (Division P)
Personal services (Subdivision 95)

3 The survey excludes the following industries:
Agriculture, forestry and fishing (Division A)
Government administration and defence (Division M)
Superannuation funds (Class 7412)
Education (Division N)
Health and community services (Division O)
Other services (Subdivision 96)

4 The scope excludes public sector business units (i.e. all departments, authorities and other organisations owned and controlled by Commonwealth, State and Local Government).

5 The Survey of New Capital Expenditure, like most ABS economic collections, takes its frame from employing businesses on the ABS Business Register which is primarily based on registrations to the Australian Taxation Office's Pay As You Go Witholding (PAYGW) scheme (and prior to 1 July 2000 the Group Employer scheme). The frame is updated quarterly to take account of new businesses, businesses which have ceased employing, changes in employment levels, changes in industry and other general business changes.

6 Businesses which have ceased employing are identified when the Australian Taxation Office cancels their PAYGW registration (or previously their Group Employer registration). In addition, from September quarter 1999, businesses which did not remit under the Group Employer scheme for the previous five quarters were removed from the frame. A similar process will be adopted to remove businesses who do not remit under the PAYGW scheme.

7 The statistics in this publication exclude non-employing businesses. Though there are a substantial number of these businesses, it is expected that they would not contribute significantly to the estimates, although the impact would vary from industry to industry.


8 The introduction to The New Tax System has a number of significant implications for ABS business statistics, and these are discussed in Information Paper: ABS Statistics And The New Tax System (cat. no. 1358.0). The replacement of the Group Employer registration process by PAYGW registration resulted in a number of changes to most business survey frames. However, an adjustment has been made to the New Capital Expenditure series so that these changes will not affect broader level estimates of level and movement.

9 From the September quarter 2002, the ABS adopted a new units model and expanded its Register to include all units on the Australian Business Register, including non-employers. These non-employers will, however, continue to be excluded from the scope of the Survey of New Capital Expenditure. Information paper: Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics (Arising from The New Tax System), 2002 (cat. no. 1372.0) provides further details.


10 In the Survey of New Capital Expenditure, the statistical unit used to represent businesses, and for which statistics are reported, is the ABN unit, in most cases. The ABN unit is the business unit which has registered for an ABN, and thus appears on the ATO administered Australian Business Register. This unit is suitable for ABS statistical needs when the business is simple in structure. For more significant and diverse businesses where the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS statistical needs, the statistical unit used is the Type of Activity Unit (TAU). A TAU is comprised of one or more business entities, sub-entities or branches of a business entity within an Enterprise Group that can report production and employment data for similar economic activities. When a minimum set of data items is available, a TAU is created which covers all the operations within an industry subdivision (and the TAU is classified to the relevant subdivision of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC)). Where a business cannot supply adequate data for each industry, a TAU is formed which contains activity in more than one industry subdivision and the TAU is classified to the predominant ANZSIC subdivision. Further details about the ABS economic statistical units used in this survey, and in other ABS economic surveys (both sample surveys and censuses), can be found in Chapter 2 of the Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (SESCA) 2002 (cat. no. 1218.0).


11 The survey is conducted by mail on a quarterly basis. It is based on a random sample of approximately 8,000 units which is stratified by industry, State/Territory and number of employees. The figures obtained from the selected businesses are supplemented by data from units which have large capital expenditure and/or large employment and which are outside the sample framework, or not adequately covered by it.

12 Respondents are asked to provide data on the same basis as their own management accounts. Where a selected unit does not respond in a given survey period, a value is estimated. If data are subsequently provided, the estimated value is replaced with reported data. Aggregates are calculated from all data using the ‘number raised’ estimation technique. Data are edited at both individual unit level and at aggregate level.


13 Surveys are conducted in respect of each quarter and returns are completed in the 8 or 9 week period after the end of the quarter to which the survey data relate (e.g. March quarter survey returns are completed during April and May).

14 Businesses are requested to provide 3 basic figures each survey:

  • Actual expenditure incurred during the reference period (Act)
  • A short term expectation (E1)
  • A longer term expectation (E2).

Image - Period to which reported data relates

15 This survey cycle facilitates the formation of estimates of expenditure for financial years (12 months ending 30 June) which are presented in tables 5 and 6 of this publication. For example, as the table above shows for 2002-2003:
  • the first estimate was available from the December 2001 survey as a longer term expectation (E2);
  • the second estimate was available from the March 2002 survey (again as a longer term expectation);
  • the third estimate was available from in the June 2002 survey as the sum of two expectations (E1 + E2);
  • in the September 2002, December 2002 and March 2003 surveys the fourth, fifth and sixth estimates, respectively, are derived as the sum of actual expenditure (for that part of the year completed) and expected expenditure (for the remainder of the year) as recorded in the current quarter's survey;
  • the final (or seventh) estimate from the June quarter 2003 survey was derived by summing the actual expenditure for each of the four quarters in the 2002-03 financial year.

16 Businesses are requested to provide actual expenditure data by State/Territory each quarter. Additionally, in each December quarter they are asked to provide by State/Territory:
  • A short term expectation (E1) for the 6 months to 30 June in the current financial year.
  • A longer term expectation (E2) for the 12 months to 30 June of the following financial year.

17 These expectations data by State/Territory are not included in this publication but are released on AusStats and are available on request.


18 The survey frames and samples are revised each quarter to ensure that they remain representative of the survey population. The timing for creating each quarter's survey frame is consistent with that of other ABS business surveys. This provides for greater consistency when comparing data across surveys.

19 Additionally, with these revisions to the sample, some of the units from the sampled sector are rotated out of the survey and are replaced by others to spread the reporting workload equitably.

20 Adjustments are included in the estimates to allow for lags in processing new businesses to the ABS Business Register, and the omission of some businesses from the register. The majority of businesses affected and to which adjustments apply are small in size. As an indication of the size of these adjustments, in the September quarter 2003 they represented about 1.2% of the total estimate of new capital expenditure.


21 The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) has been developed for use in both countries for the production and analysis of industry statistics. For more information, users are referred to Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 1993 (cat. no. 1292.0).

22 In order to classify new capital expenditure by industry, each statistical unit (as defined above) is classified to the (ANZSIC) industry in which it mainly operates.


23 The chain volume measures appearing in this publication are annually reweighted chain Laspeyres indexes referenced to current price values in the chosen reference year (currently 2001-2002). The current price values may be thought as being the product of a price and quantity. The value in chain volume terms can be derived by linking together movements in volumes, calculated using the average prices of the previous financial year and applying compound movements to the current price estimates of the reference year. Each year's quarter-to-quarter growth rates in the chain volume series are based on the prices of the previous financial year, except for those quarters of the latest incomplete year which are based upon the second most recent financial year. Quarterly chain volume estimates for a financial year sum to the corresponding annual estimate.

24 With each release of the June quarter issue of this publication, a new base year is introduced and the reference year is advanced one year to coincide with it. This means that with the release of the June quarter 2004 issue of this publication, the chain volume measures for 2003-04 will have 2002-03 (the previous financial year) as their base year rather than 2001-02, and the reference year will be 2002-03. A change in the reference year changes levels but not growth rates for all periods. A change in the base year can result in revisions, small in most cases, to growth rates for the last year.

25 Chain volume measures are not generally additive. In other words, component chain volume measures do not, in general, sum to a total in the way original current price components do. For capital expenditure data, this means that the original chain volume estimates for industry groups will not add to total capital expenditure for Australia. In order to minimise the impact of this, the ABS uses the latest base year as the reference year. By adopting this approach, additivity does exist for the quarters following the reference year and non-additivity is relatively small for the quarters in the reference year and those immediately preceding it. For further information on chain volume measures refer to Information Paper: Introduction of Chain Volume Measures in the Australian National Accounts (cat. no. 5248.0).


26 Once actual expenditure for a financial year is known, it is useful to investigate the relationship between each of the prior 6 estimates of expenditure for that financial year and the actual expenditure (see Page 4 for an explanation of the derivation of the 7 estimates). The resultant realisation ratios (subsequent actual expenditure divided by expected expenditure) then indicate how much expenditure was actually incurred against the amount expected to be incurred at the various times of reporting. Realisation ratios can also be formed separately for 3 or 6 month expectations as well as the 12 month E2 estimates or combinations of estimates containing at least some expectation components (e.g. 6 months actual and 6 months expected expenditure).

27 Realisation ratios provide an important tool in understanding and interpreting expectation statistics for future periods. The application of realisation ratios enables the adjustment of expectation data for known under (or over) realisation patterns in the past and hence provides a valid basis for comparison with other expectation data and actual expenditure estimates. Once this has been done the predictions can be more validly compared with each other and with previously derived estimates of actual expenditure for earlier years. For example, if one wished to make a prediction about actual expenditure for 2001-2002 based on the June 2001 survey results and compare this with 2000-2001 expenditure, it is necessary to apply the relevant realisation factors to the expectation to put both estimates on the same basis.

28 There are many ways in which realisation ratios can be applied to make predictions of actual expenditure for a future period. A range of realisation ratios for both type of asset and industry estimates is provided in tables 5 and 6.

29 In using realisation ratios to adjust expectations data, attention should be paid to the range of values that has occurred in the past. A wide range of values is indicative of volatility in the realisation patterns and hence greater caution should be exercised regarding the predictive value of the expectation, even after adjustment by application of realisation ratios. This is particularly the case with the early 12 month expectations for the following financial year collected in the December and March surveys.


30 Estimates provided in this publication are subject to non-sampling and sampling errors. The most common way of quantifying sampling error is to calculate the standard error for the published estimate. Details of standard errors are on pages 29 and 30 of this publication.

31 Non-sampling errors may arise as a result of errors in the reporting, recording or processing of the data and can occur even if there is a complete enumeration of the population. These errors can be introduced through inadequacies in the questionnaire, treatment of non-response, inaccurate reporting by respondents, errors in the application of survey procedures, incorrect recording of answers, and errors in data entry and processing.

32 Estimates for the latest quarter presented in this publication are considered preliminary and revised estimates will be released with the next issue. As discussed in Paragraphs 36, 38 and 39, below, seasonally adjusted and trend estimates are also subject to revision as data are revised and more data becomes available.

33 It is difficult to measure the size of non-sampling errors. However, every effort is made in the design of the survey and development of survey procedures to minimise their effects. In addition, respondents may have difficulties in allocating to the appropriate State(s) expenditure on some equipment items such as mobile assets (eg. aircraft, bulk oil carriers, satellites, off-shore drilling platforms and large computer installations supporting a national network). Where such difficulties exist expenditure is allocated to the State of the businesses' head office or, in the case of aircraft, is allocated across states in proportion to the likely use of the asset.


34 The quarterly original actual new capital expenditure series in this publication are affected in varying degrees by seasonal influences. The seasonal adjustment process estimates and removes the effects of normal seasonal variations from the original series so that the effects of other influences can be more easily recognised.

35 In the seasonal adjustment process, account has been taken of normal seasonal factors (e.g. increase in June quarter capital expenditure due to the impending end of the financial year) to produce the seasonally adjusted estimates. Particular care should be taken in interpreting quarterly movements in the seasonally adjusted estimates because seasonal adjustment does not remove the effect of irregular or non-seasonal influences (e.g. change in interest rates) and reflects the sampling and other errors to which the original estimates are subject.

36 In this publication, the seasonally adjusted estimates are produced by the concurrent seasonal adjustment method which takes account of the latest available original estimates. This method improves the estimation of seasonal factors, and therefore, the seasonally adjusted and trend estimates for the current and previous quarters. As a result of this improvement, revisions to the seasonally adjusted and trend estimates will be observed for recent periods. In most instances the only noticeable revisions will be to the previous quarter and the same quarter one year ago. A more detailed review will be conducted annually prior to the June quarter release using data up to and including the March quarter. The concurrent seasonal adjustment methodology replaces the forward factor methodology previously used to adjust capital expenditure estimates where seasonal factors for these estimates were only revised following an annual reanalysis.

37 Seasonally adjusted estimates by asset type for Tasmania, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory are not separately available because of the high sampling variability associated with them. They are included in totals for Australia and while a combined residual can be derived, the measure should not be considered reliable.


38 The trend estimates are derived by applying a 7-term Henderson moving average to the seasonally adjusted estimates. The 7-term Henderson moving average is symmetric, but as the end of a time series is approached, asymmetric forms of the moving average are applied. The asymmetric moving average has been tailored to suit the particular characteristics of individual series and enable trend estimates for recent quarters to be produced. Estimates of the trend will be improved at the current end of the time series as additional observations become available. This improvement is due to the application of different asymmetric moving averages for the most recent three quarters. As a result of the improvement, revisions to the trend estimates will generally be observed for the most recent three quarters.

39 There may also be revisions because of changes in the original estimates. As a result of these revisions, the seasonally adjusted and trend estimates will also be revised. For further information, see Information Paper: A Guide to Interpreting Time Series-Monitoring Trend, An Overview (cat. no. 1349.0) or contact the Assistant Director, Time Series Analysis on Canberra 02 6252 6345 or email <timeseries@abs.gov.au>.


40 A description of the terms used in this publication is given below:

41 New capital expenditure refers to the acquisition of new tangible assets either on own account or under a finance lease and includes major improvements, alterations and additions. In general, this is expenditure charged to fixed tangible assets accounts excluding expenditure on second hand assets unless these are imported for the first time.

42 Some estimates are dissected by type of asset:
  • Buildings and Structures. Includes industrial and commercial buildings, houses, flats, home units, water and sewerage installations, lifts, heating, ventilating and similar equipment forming an integral part of buildings and structures, land development and construction site development, roads, bridges, wharves, harbours, railway lines, pipelines, power and telephone lines. Also includes mine development (e.g. construction of shafts in underground mines, preparation of mining and quarrying sites for open cut extraction and other developmental operations primarily for commencing or extending production). Excludes purchases of land, previously occupied buildings and speculatively built projects intended for sale before occupation.
  • Equipment, plant and machinery. Includes plant, machinery, vehicles, electrical apparatus, office equipment, furniture, fixtures and fittings not forming an integral part of buildings, durable containers, special tooling, etc. Also includes goods imported for the first time whether previously used outside Australia or not.


43 The statistics for new capital expenditure shown in this publication differ from estimates of private gross fixed capital expenditure shown in the Australian National Accounts for the following reasons:
  • National Accounts estimates incorporate data from other sources as well as information from the new capital expenditure survey. For example, annual estimates for capital expenditure on ‘machinery and equipment’ are based on the ABS' annual Economic Activity Survey combined with data from the Australian Taxation Office. Quarterly estimates are interpolated between and extrapolated from the annual estimates using a variety of indicators including this survey. The ABS’s quarterly Building Activity Survey and Engineering Construction Survey are the main sources for estimating the National Accounts dwellings and other building and structures items.
  • National Accounts estimates include capital expenditure by all private businesses including units classified to agriculture, forestry and fishing, education, and health and community services industries and capital expenditure on dwellings by households. Data for these sectors are excluded from this publication.
  • National Accounts estimates include the value of work done on speculative construction projects as the work is put into place. The statistics in this publication, however, include full value of the speculative projects as new capital expenditure of the purchases (if in scope), when the project is sold.
  • National accounts estimates of gross fixed capital formation relate to acquisitions less disposals of new or existing fixed assets, whereas the survey figures are acquisitions of new fixed tangible assets only.

44 For a more detailed explanation of the concepts and methods used in compiling the National Accounts estimates see Australian National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0).

45 The estimates of capital expenditure on buildings and other structures will differ with estimates of Construction activity published in Construction Work Done, Australia, Preliminary (cat. no. 8755.0). The latter publication presents estimates of building and engineering construction work collected by the Building Activity Survey and the Engineering Construction Survey. Estimates of construction activity are based on the value of actual work done during the quarter of individual building or construction jobs by builders, and do not necessarily equate to capitalisation of this work by the builders' eventual clients. Estimates of capital expenditure in this publication are based on data reported by businesses (that is, the builders' clients) from their financial or management accounts for purchases of buildings and structures.


46 Users may also wish to refer the following publications:
  • Australian Business Expectations (cat. no. 5250.0)
  • Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product (cat. no. 5206.0)
  • Australian National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (Cat no. 5216.0)
  • Building Activity, Australia (cat. no. 8752.0)
  • Constructon Work Done, Australia (Cat no 8755.0)
  • Business Indicators, Australia (cat. no. 5676.0)
  • Business Operations and Industry Performance, Australia (cat. no. 8140.0)
  • Directory of Capital Expenditure Data Sources and Related Statistics (cat. no. 5653.0)
  • Engineering Construction Activity, Australia (cat. no. 8762.0)
  • Information Paper: Experimental Estimates: Australian Industry, A State Perspective, 1998-99 (cat. no. 8156.0)
  • Information Paper: Improvements to Australian Bureau of Statistics Business Indicators (cat. no. 5677.0)
  • Information Paper: Australian National Accounts, Introduction of Chain Volume and Price Indexes (cat. no. 5248.0)

47 Current publications produced by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products, Australia (cat. no. 1101.0). The ABS also issues, on Tuesdays and Fridays, a Release Advice (cat. no. 1105.0) which lists publications to be released in the next few days. The Catalogue and Release Advice are available from any ABS office.


48 In addition to the data contained in this publication, more detailed industry and state information may be made available on request, the cost for such a service being dependent upon the amount of data requested. For example, data are generally available at the ANZSIC group (3 digit) level.


49 The ABS' time series service AusStats contains most of the data included in this publication but with a longer time series. In addition to the series in this publication, data for Manufacturing Subdivisions and State by Industry data are also available. A full list of available AusStats tables is in Appendix 2 on page 31.