Data to give gauge of March quarter GDP

The Australian economy is expected to have returned to its pre-pandemic level in the first three months of this year, an impressive recovery from the deep recession in mid-2020.

In the second half of last year, and for the first time in at least sixty years, the economy grew by more than three per cent in two consecutive quarters.

The March quarter national accounts, which will provide the latest economic growth readings, are due on June 2.

In the build up to that data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will release a number of reports to gauge the speed of the recovery in the quarter, kicking off with construction work figures on Wednesday.

Economists expect a two per cent rise in the March quarter after the 0.9 per cent drop in the previous three months, largely rebounding on the strength of home building on the back of government initiatives and low interest rates.

Thursday will see business investment figures for the March quarter, a key component of economic growth, but one that has been lacking, even before the pandemic.

Private new capital expenditure is forecast to rise 2.1 per cent, building on the three per cent rise in the December quarter, and buoyed by an optimistic business sector which is enjoying their best conditions on record. 

The report also includes future capital expenditure intentions. 

The week after, the ABS will also release reports on international trade, business profits and inventories, and government spending in the March quarter which will enable economists to finalise their growth forecasts. 

What is known so far, retail spending will be a modest drag on growth in the quarter, after declining 0.5 per cent, following a relatively large 2.4 per cent increase in the December quarter.

The ABS will release on Tuesday more up to date data with its preliminary trade figures for April and its latest weekly payroll jobs report.

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