Construction figures to build GDP picture | Ralph-Lauren

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Economists will be fine-tuning their growth forecasts for the first three months of the year as the Australian Bureau of Statistics rolls out a series of quarterly indicators over the coming week.

The March quarter national accounts, which will provide the latest economic growth result, are due on June 2.

“At this stage we expect the GDP data to confirm that the economy regained its pre-COVID level of output during the first quarter of 2021 – a stunning achievement compared to what was expected,” ANZ economists say.

In the second half of last year, and for the first time in at least 60 years, the economy grew by more than three per cent in two consecutive quarters.

What is known so far for the March quarter, retail spending will be a modest drag on growth, after declining 0.5 per cent, following a relatively large 2.4 per cent increase in the December quarter.

Otherwise, the quarterly reports season kicks off with construction work figures on Wednesday.

Economists expect a two per cent rise in the March quarter after the 0.9 per cent drop in the previous three months, largely rebounding on the strength of home building on the back of government initiatives and low interest rates.

Thursday will see business investment figures for the March quarter, a key component of economic growth, but one that has been lacking, even before the pandemic.

Private new capital expenditure is forecast to rise 2.1 per cent, building on the three per cent rise in the December quarter, and buoyed by an optimistic business sector which is enjoying their best conditions on record.

The report also includes future capital expenditure intentions.

Early next week, the ABS will also release reports on international trade, business profits and inventories, and government spending in the March quarter.

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