Australia business investment climbs 4.4% in Q2, tops forecasts

FILE PHOTO: Construction cranes are seen at a construction site in central Sydney, Australia, February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian businesses ramped up investment in the June quarter as strong consumer demand and generous tax breaks drove spending on new equipment, though coronavirus lockdowns have since turned the outlook distinctly darker.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics out on Thursday showed business investment rose 4.4% in the second quarter to A$32.7 billion ($23.76 billion), topping forecasts of a 2.5% rise.

Spending on equipment climbed 4.3% while building investment rose 4.6%. The latest estimate for investment over 2021/22 jumped to a healthy A$127.7 billion, though again those plans could be threatened by an extended lockdown.

($1 = 1.3761 Australian dollars)

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