New capital expenditure rises 1.0%

Media Release

Private new capital expenditure (capex) rose 1.0 per cent in the March quarter 2024 to be 5.5 per cent higher than a year ago in seasonally adjusted, chain volume measures, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Robert Ewing, ABS head of business statistics, said: “Business investment grew in the non-mining industries in the March quarter, rising 3.3 per cent. This was partly offset by a fall in mining capex, which was down 4.7 per cent.

“Transport, postal and warehousing saw the largest rise of any industry, up 15.8 per cent. This was from more investment in vehicles and ongoing investment connected to large infrastructure projects.”

New equipment and machinery capex rose by 3.3 per cent, with non‑mining industries growing by 4.6 per cent, offset by mining falling 3.2 per cent. 

“Expanded investment in data centres contributed to a large rise in equipment and machinery capex for the information media and telecommunications industry, up 60.6 per cent.

New building and structures capex fell by 0.9 per cent.

“Mining drove the fall in new investment in building and structures, which was down 5.2 per cent. There was reduced spending on major iron ore projects and LNG projects during the quarter,” Mr Ewing said. 

Queensland had the largest rise of the states and territories, up 5.9 per cent in the March quarter. The biggest fall was in Western Australia, down 6.7 per cent, reflecting the fall in mining capex.

Figures released today also include updated expectations of planned capex for the financial year. Businesses revised up their expected capex spend for 2023-24 by 2.5 per cent (in current prices) since the last estimate three months ago. 

This release also includes the second estimate for planned capex for 2024-25. This rose 6.8 per cent compared to the first estimate three months ago. 

“The rise in planned capital investment shows that businesses expect continued growth in new capital expenditure for the remainder of this financial year and the year ahead.

“The information media and telecommunications industry was the stand-out, with an extraordinarily large rise in expected capex from further planned investment in new data centres. 

“The electricity, gas, water, and waste services industry also expect a big rise from planned investment in renewable energy infrastructure,” Mr Ewing said.

More detailed industry and state analysis and further information on the statistical methodology is available in New Capital Expenditure (cat no. 5625.0).

The ABS gratefully acknowledges the contributions of businesses across Australia in providing the data for this release.

Media notes

  • The extra leap year day in 2024 has been accounted for in seasonally adjusted statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for the month of February 2024 and the March quarter 2024.  The impact of an additional leap year day is analysed as part of the seasonal adjustment process, which includes the impact of trading days. The impact of the extra leap year day will be evident in the original (non-seasonally adjusted) series. For further information please refer to this note.
  • New capital expenditure refers to the acquisition of new tangible assets and includes major improvements, alterations, and additions. 
  • When referring to rises and falls in terms of size, these numbers reflect the change in capex in dollar terms, not necessarily the highest percentage rise or fall.
  • All statistical figures in this media release are in seasonally adjusted volume terms unless otherwise noted.
  • Seasonal adjustment is the process of estimating and removing seasonal effects to allow comparison of data for adjacent months. See methodology for more details.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
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