Construction picks up: ABS

During the three months to September, the seasonally adjusted estimate of engineering activity leapt 20% compared to the same period last year, and 10.4% over the preceding June quarter.Total construction rose 4.4% quarter-on-quarter and 8.8% on the same period in 2007.CommSec equities economist Savanth Sebastian told News.com.au the latest ABS figures were “buoyant”.Despite downgraded growth estimates resulting from the global financial crisis, Sebastian said the construction data was a positive sign, and the longer-term outlook for residential and building construction was encouraging, particularly with the Reserve Bank of Australia’s recent interest rate cuts.According to Sebastian the real drivers will be engineering, construction and infrastructure, News.com reported.“The structural change in China is something that is going to require further growth in the resources sector,” Sebastian said.“As a result of that, you’ve seen that engineering and infrastructure is really where the growth is at – and is likely to be – in the coming years.”However, signs of weakness were still evident during the three months to September, with building activity falling 0.5% quarter-on-quarter, and non-residential work dropping 2.4% on the preceding June quarter.

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