Business investment fell sharply in the June quarter, coinciding with a steep decline in confidence when the coronavirus hit Australian shores and the nation went into lockdown.
June quarter private business capital expenditure tumbled 5.9 per cent to $26.1 billion, to be 11.5 per cent down on the year.
The decline was led by a 7.6 per cent slump in equipment, plant and machinery investment to $12.1 billion, to stand 13.8 per cent down on the year.
Investment in buildings and structures fell 4.4 per cent to $14 billion, a fall of 9.4 per cent than a year earlier.
For the full 2019/20 financial year, expected expenditure is forecast at $116.8 billion, 4.3 per cent lower than this time last year. However, it was 1.3 per cent higher than a previous estimate.
Looking ahead to 2020/21, the latest estimate for expenditure is $98.6 billion, 12.6 per cent lower than this time last year, but it was 8.9 per cent higher than a previous estimate.
The data feeds into next week’s national accounts for the June quarter, which is widely expected to confirm Australia suffered its first recession in almost three decades as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.