Lackluster economic growth & restrained consumer spending / confidence is on the cards for the 4th Q of 2019. Construction / EPC activity in Australia is marginally on the increase as we move into the remainder of 2019. The Australian EPC sector continue to feel the downturn effects of the ore & minerals needs of mainly China, India & the rest of the world.

Much of the future construction growth in Australia will be enhanced by the improving economy & increased government spending on public facilities, housing & infrastructure projects.

Among the developed OECD countries, Australia has struggled the most from discounted minerals & commodities prices. Australia has avoided an economic slowdown thanks in some part to decent growth in the private housing & commercial construction sectors. Skilled labor availability has picked up substantially, salaries & hourly wage rates are forecast to remain stable or moderate slightly in 2020.

Low commodity mineral prices will continue to stymie the Australia economy & construction sector. Australian construction (L&M) inflation is forecast to be in the 2.2% to 2.5% range for the balance of 2019. Australia is seeing start of a number of major highway, railroad, airports, port expansions, power & other infrastructure related projects, with a number of these projects mobilizing & going to the field in the 4th Q of 2019.

Australia’s GDP is forecast to grow in the 2.2% to 2.5% range for the 4th Q of 2019. Unemployment in 2019 is forecast to be in the 4.1% to 5.1% range. Inflation is projected to be in the 2.3% to 2.6% range for the remainder of 2019.

It appears that the majority of the “mega” LNG projects are just about completed (Wheatstone, Pluto, Gorgon etc.), these projects employed tens of thousands of construction related workers. In the last six months there have been some major Oil & Gas CAPEX projects given the “green light” to proceed.

The New Zealand construction sector continues to experience positive growth as we move into 2020. There is a huge demand single family home and apartments. Look for this situation to continue for the next twelve months. New Zealand construction inflation is forecast to be in the 1.9% to 2.4% range for the balance of 2019. New Zealand’s GDP is forecast to grow in the 2.2% to 2.5% range in 2020, New Zealand unemployment in 2019 is forecast to be in the 2.6% to 3.4% range. Latest word is that the construction industry is expected to have an average year in 2020. The recent Christchurch mosque attacks is something that New Zealand has never experienced, look for increased spending on beefing up infrastructure / security related systems.

2019 Global Construction Costs Yearbook

Compass International's 500+ page publication provides “current” detailed information on construction cost specific to 101 countries worldwide.

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