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eTradesman.com.au - Australia's Online Tradesman Directory

Tradesman NEWS - Building Industry Woes Grow

HIGHER interest rates, tighter funding and weaker confidence continue to hamper the construction industry, a survey says. The Australian Industry Group-Housing Industry Association performance of construction index (PCI) rose 3.4 index points in June to 40.3 points. However, the index stayed well below the key 50-point level, which separates expansion from contraction, for the fourth straight month. Australian Industry Group associate director economics and research Tony Pensabene said tighter liquidity, higher interest rates and reduced confidence from consumers and investors were hitting construction activity. "We are continuing to see weakness on a broad industry front, with falling demand, weaker economic conditions, and increased competition for work, cited as key factors by firms for the continued fall-off in activity," Mr Pensabene said. "Despite a moderation in the contraction of new business volumes in June, the outlook remains subdued with further weakness in activity likely to persist over coming months." Results from the 120 companies surveyed in the construction industry found activity and new orders fell more in June, but not at the same rates as in May. "The subsequent lower workloads resulting in a reduction in employment for a third consecutive month," said the report, released today. Building companies linked the fall in activity to ongoing weakness in demand and a further fall in new business. The report said it cited the negative influence of higher interest rates and weaker consumer and investor confidence for the fall. Rising fuel and steel prices kept input costs rising at an "elevated level" in June, it said. Housing Industry Association chief economist Harley Dale said the new financial year would be subdued. "The 2008-9 financial year will be a flat one at best for new residential construction, and this situation will place further pressure on already very tight rental markets, among other negative impacts," Mr Dale said. View this official article here.<-a> Source: News.com.au
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