Australia’s construction industry tumbled during the month of August, with the sector’s index falling below the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction.
Australia’s performance of construction index fell to 46.6 in August, down from 51.6 the previous month, data release by the Australian Industry Group (AiG) showed Wednesday. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in construction activity.
Among the individual components of the survey, engineering and commercial construction expanded, while new orders, supplier deliveries and employment all fell back into negative territory. Housing sector remained less predictable, with demand slipping into contraction mode this month.
Further, the AiG reported a sharp drop in Australia’s manufacturing sector, raising fresh worries about the health of the economy. The decline in manufacturing activity has been associated with a firming of the Australian dollar that has gained over 2 percent in the past five weeks and is currently trading at 0.7672, against the greenback.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia has held its official cash rate at a record low of 1.50 percent as policymakers await the arrival of fresh economic data, especially inflation figures ahead of the new Governor Philip Lowe assuming responsibility next month.