EPC activity in Australia is improving as we move into 2019. Australia has a new Prime Minister Mr. Scott Morrison. Much of the future construction growth in Australia will be enhanced by the improving economy and increased government spending on public facilities and infrastructure projects. Among the developed OECD countries, Australia has struggled the most from discounted minerals and commodities prices. Australia has avoided an economic slowdown thanks in some part to decent growth in the private housing and commercial construction sector. Skilled labor availability has picked up substantially, salaries and hourly wage rates are forecast to remain stable or moderate slightly in 2019, unemployment in the construction sector is expected to increase marginally in 2019. Low commodity mineral prices will continue to stymie the Australia economy and construction sector. Australian construction inflation is forecast to be in the 1.9% to 2.5% range in 2019. Australia is seeing the start of a number of major highway, railroad, airports, port expansions and other infrastructure related projects going to the field in 2019 and beyond.
Australia’s GDP is forecast to grow in the 2.8% to 3.19% range in 2019. Unemployment in 2019 is forecast to be in the 4.8% to 5.3% range. It appears that the majority of the “mega” LNG projects are just about completed (Wheatstone, Pluto, Browse etc.), these projects employed tens of thousands of construction related workers. However with Oil & Gas prices increasing in the last six months there have been some major Oil & Gas CAPEX projects given the “green light” to proceed.
New Zealand construction inflation is forecast to be in the 1.8% to 2.2% range in 2019. New Zealand’s GDP is forecast to grow in the 2.8% to 3.1% range in 2019. New Zealand unemployment in 2019 is forecast to be in the 2.6% to 3.1% range, by all accounts the construction industry is expected to have an average year in 2019.