CAPEX falls during March quarter: Midday roundup

Private capital expenditure fell during the March quarter, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The figures show CAPEX fell by 4.7%, seasonally adjusted, to $38.5 billion during the quarter. The numbers track investment in capital goods, including buildings and equipment.

During the 2013-14 year, businesses now expect to spend $156 billion, 9.8% lower than the corresponding estimate made last year.

ACT signs on to Gonski reforms

The Australian Capital Territory has signed on to the federal government’s Gonski education reforms.

ACT chief minister Katy Gallagher has signed the funding deal, but it also comes as the New South Wales education minister, Adrian Piccoli, has said the federal government should clarify more funding arrangements for independent schools.

“The independent schools here and the Catholic schools here support the deal but they’re still waiting from the feds on getting the details about how much money,” a spokesman for Piccoli told AAP.

“They need to know how much money they’re going to get from next year so that they can start doing their planning.”

Shorten claims wages not behind Ford closures

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said Ford’s recent decision to shut down its manufacturing facilities was not caused by high labour costs.

In an interview with Business Spectator, Shorten said businesses need to focus on creating products that better fit with consumer demand.

“I don’t accept that Ford is shut because you pay workers reasonably,” Shorten said.

“The reason … is they didn’t make export model cars. They kept making larger cars in Australia than the consumer wanted. Consumer preferences changed. Ford didn’t.”

Shorten said countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Israel were models to follow in supporting high labour costs alongside manufacturing industries.

“It’s the value proposition, it’s our ability to premium price, it’s access to markets, it’s having a skilled workforce, it’s prioritising research and development,” he said. “I think manufacturing has got a future, full stop.”

Shares fall on weak offshore leads

The Australian sharemarket has opened lower this morning, falling on weak offshore leads, especially from the United States where economists believe the Federal Reserve could start moving back on stimulus activity.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 53.4 points or 1.1% to 4,921.3 at 12.10 AEST, while in the United States the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 106.6 points or 0.7%.



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