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  • 16 Sep 2021 8:44 AM | Dr Marcus Smith

    Residential property prices continued to soar with the national weighted average of median prices across all capital cities growing by 6.7% over the June quarter 2021 to record a 16.8% increase over the financial year, according to data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

    The data shows across capital cities the largest increases over the year were recorded in Sydney (+19.3%), Canberra (+19.1%), and Hobart (+17.7%).

    Over five years to June 2021, the Tasmanian capital recorded the most substantial  increase in residential property prices of 65.3%, followed by Canberra (+36.7%), Melbourne (+32%), Sydney (+27.5%) and Brisbane (19.3%). The only capital city where residential property prices were below the June 2021 level was Darwin down (-6.9%), despite an increase of 12.8% over the year.

    Looking at Queensland residential property  prices by type and region, housing prices in Brisbane grew by 20.8% over the year and by 9.5% across the rest of the state, while prices of attached dwellings (flats, apartments etc) grew by 9% over the year in Brisbane and 16.9% across the rest of the state.

    Lending Indicators reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for the month of July 2021 highlights the role that the Federal Government's HomeBuilder grants program has had in stimulating the national housing market, buoyed also by ultra-low interest rates.

    Data for Queensland shows that despite the number and value of new loan commitments for construction of new dwellings to both owner-occupiers and investors fell over the month, they remain up in number over the twelve months to July by 9,187 (+116.9%) and value of $3.802 billion (+109.2%) for owner-occupiers and by 581 (+22.4%) and $280.6 million to investors.

    Looking at loan commitments for existing dwellings, although the number of new loans to owner occupiers was down in number and value over the month also, they remain up in number by 20,972 (+39.8%) and value of $11.509 billion (+53.1%) for the year. Loans to investors on the other hand rose modestly over the month by 12 (+0.4%) and $24.3 million (+1.8%), recording an increase in number for the twelve months to July of 9,422 (+56.3%) and $4.857 billion (+73.8%).

  • 1 Sep 2021 1:28 PM | Dr Marcus Smith

    Australian National Accounts data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that Australia's gross domestic product grew by 0.7% over the June 2021 quarter resulting in an annual economic growth rate of 1.4% for the 2020-21 financial year.

    Queensland State Final Demand (SFD), which is equivalent to gross state product excluding net international trade and thus can be considered as the domestic part of the economy, grew by 2% over the June quarter posting a total of $376.627 billion for the 2020-21 financial year.

    Over the financial year, Queensland final demand grew by 4.1% compared to 2.9% in New South Wales and -0.8% in Victoria and at a similar rate to most other states.

    Looking at the changes in the various components over the year reveals that household spending increased most substantially by $10.420 billion (+5.2%) over the year as restrictions eased and domestic tourism picked up across the state.

    Across the households consumption expenditure component net interstate spending for Queensland fell by -$1.831 billion (-75.3%) giving a positive change in net interstate expenditure for the year, spending on health increased by $1.839 billion (12.6%), while the largest increase was in recreation and culture which increased by $2.219 billion (10.9%).

    Offsetting these increases, spending on transport substantially fell by -$2.247 billion (64.2%) and spending on cigarettes and tobacco fell also by -$343 million (-10%).

    It's interesting to note here also that the national savings ratio has dropped to 7.6% in June 2021 which, while remaining relatively elevated, has dropped from a record high of 22% in June last year.

    Commonwealth Government spending also grew strongly as expected by $2.6 billion (+8.1%) over the year while spending by state and local governments actually fell by -$263 million (-0.6%).

    While the economic value of dwellings picked up from the bubbly residential housing market business investment in the state continued to tumble falling by -$1.982 billion (-4.9%).

    This statistic reinforces the fact that the business community continues to lack confidence and is reluctant to invest with non-dwelling construction falling by -$1.679 billion (-9%) and capital expenditures on machinery and equipment falling by -$451 million (-3%) over the year.

    Business investment did, however, tick up in the June quarter by 5.7%, when businesses would have been ensuring they made the most of this financial year's instant asset write-off scheme. Anecdotally, others have also suggested that improved supply chain conditions may also have contributed to rise. 

    The release of the State Accounts is due on the 19th of November, which contains the state gross product estimates for the financial year.

  • 18 Aug 2021 2:56 PM | Dr Marcus Smith

    Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for June 2021 show headline inflation spiked over the quarter by 0.8% to an annual rate of 3.8%.

    While the headline rate was greater than the Reserve Bank of Australia's inflation target of keeping core inflation between 2-3% over the medium term, the underlying statistically-adjusted measures including the trimmed mean (the average percentage change after stripping 15% off each side of the ordered expenditure class distribution) and the weighted median (the seasonally-adjusted percentage change at the middle percentage change in the ordered expenditure class) remained below the target range at 1.6% and 1.7%, respectively.

    The ABS attributed the quarterly spike in national headline inflation to factors including a rise in automotive fuel driven by a recovery to global oil prices following COVID-19 lockdowns, annual increases to private health insurance premiums, and rises to fruit and vegetable costs due to a shortage of pickers and extreme rainfall events on the east coast of Australia including the impact of Cyclone Niran on banana production.

    Accordingly, the pundits are expecting this spike in headline inflation to be only temporary.

    Across capital cities, the highest annual headline CPI increases were recorded in Darwin (+6.1%), Brisbane (+4.9%) and Canberra (+4.8%).

    Breaking down headline inflation by category for Brisbane shows that the largest annual increases were recorded for furnishings, household equipment and services (+18%), transport (+11.8%), alcohol and tobacco (+6.5%), and health (+5.6%).

    Property prices have been rising also at a much greater rate than consumer price inflation across the nation.

    The most recent national Residential Property Price Indexes from the ABS shows that over the year to March 2021 the weighted average of residential property prices across Australia's capital cities grew by 7.5% over the year, while the largest annual increases by capital city were recorded in Canberra (10.9%), Hobart (10.2%), Perth (9.0%), and Brisbane and Adelaide (7.5%).

    While home owners and investors have benefited by rising asset prices over the year, however, wage growth remains subdued across the nation.

    Looking at Queensland in particular, while public sector wage growth had been rising at a faster rate than in the private sector for most of the last five years it has grown at a relatively slower annual rate than the private sector over the past two quarters.

    Moreover, annual wage growth in both Queensland's private and public sectors has been below Brisbane CPI inflation for the past two quarters also, with annual inflation to June 2021 recorded at 2.0% for the private sector and 1.3% for the public sector.

    Finally, looking at wage growth nationally by industry sector to June 2021, the highest annual growth rate was 2.6% recorded for workers within Other services, which the ABS  notes "includes a broad range of personal services; religious, civic, professional and other interest group services; selected repair and maintenance activities; and private households employing staff".

    Other industries where relatively higher annual wage growth was recorded than the 1.8% national rate for all industries includes Professional, scientific and technical services (2.5%); Construction (2.2%); Education and training (1.9%); and Health care and social assistance (1.8%).

    Industries where the lowest relative annual wage growth was recorded includes Arts and recreation services (0.9%); Administrative and support services (1.0%); Rental, hiring and real estate services (1.1%); Information, media and telecommunications (1.2%); and Electricity, gas, water and waste services (1.3%).  

  • 15 Aug 2021 1:20 PM | Dr Marcus Smith

    Annual merchandise trade itemised accounts released this month by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade show that the freight on board value of Queensland's merchandise exports tumbled by around -$18.248 billion (-23.9%) since last financial year to $58.001 billion in 2020-21, which is the lowest level in five years.

    The collapse was driven by a significant fall in the value of major export items including coal, gas, beef, copper ore and aluminium ore.

    It was not bad news for all exporters, however, with a good year recorded for manufacturing exports including copper products and fertiliser as well as agricultural shipments of wheat, other cereals and vegetables.

    Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries exports fell by -$910.897 million (-9.5%) over the year. The dip in export value over the last financial year was predominantly due to a decrease in beef exports following the elevated levels observed last year.

    Accordingly, beef exports fell -$1.346 billion (-21.6%) to around $4.873 billion.

    Conversely, the value of exports of wheat was up substantially by +$376.577 million on last year, with other cereal grains also increasing by +$153.302 million (+454.5%) and vegetables exports rose +$140.004 million (+40.7%) to $484.232 million.

    Resources sector exports fell substantially over the year. LNG is not itemised, but it is the major item recorded in the confidential items of trade category.

    Combining the Mineral and Fuels as well as the Confidential Items and non-monetary gold items reported in the Other Items category, the value of total exports fell by -$17.74 billion to $40.66 billion.

    Coal exports (comprised of both metallurgical and thermal coal) fell sharply for the second year running by over -$10.074 billion (-33.5%) to $20.009 billion, while the value of confidential items exported also fell sharply over the year by around -$7.162 billion (-30.2%) to $16.531 billion.

    The manufacturing sector was a mixed bag as usual, having by far the largest number of sub-categories. While the sector grew by +$395.444 billion (+4.9%) to almost $8.468 billion, however, this was largely due to a couple of standout manufacturing industries.

    Exports of copper products increased by +$424.580 million (+22.8%) to $2.288 billion, while shipments of fertiliser increased by +$131.468 million (+60.6%) to $348.278 million.

    Conversely, there were declines across other items including aluminium products, civil engineering equipment, air and space craft parts, ships and boats, mechanical handling equipment and medicaments. 

    Breakdowns of exports by key destination for the 2020-21 financial year show
    large falls in shipments to most major trading partners over the year including China -$13.458 billion (-48.8%), Japan -$2.038 billion, South Korea -$1.054 billion, Taiwan -$773 million, and Malaysia -$691 million, with modest increases to India +$255 million, Vietnam +$46 million and Indonesia +$42 million.

    Despite the large fall in exports to China, it remains by far the state's largest export partner at 24.3% of total merchandise exports.

    The largest fall in commodity exports to China during 2020-21 were shipments of coal -$8.159 billion, confidential items (predominantly LNG) -$4.363 billion, beef -$769.632 million, copper ores -$313.536 million and aluminium ores -$233.725 million.

  • 4 Aug 2021 4:22 PM | Dr Marcus Smith

    On Monday, the Queensland Government announced that 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants of $5,000 will be made available to employing small and medium businesses across Queensland affected by the COVID-19 lockdown that commenced on Saturday 31 July 2021.

    And while the State Government has already begun it’s roadshows promoting the $260 million support package, applications will not open until mid-August and payments will not start flowing to businesses for up to two weeks later.

    This grants package comes following the Business Boost Grants that opened on Friday morning the 30th July and was closed in just 40 minutes taking only 395 applications. 

    The eligibility criteria for the Business Support Grants will leave many of the state's small businesses out in the cold with only employing businesses with annual turnover above $75,000 and an annual payroll of $10 million or less eligible to apply for assistance.

    The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) business counts for June 2020 reveal that there were around 95,000 (28.7%) of the 330,000 businesses located within the affected Local Government Areas in the southeast corner alone with turnover of less than $50,000.

    Given the ABS only publish counts of businesses with turnover up to $50,000 for the nano-business category, it is reasonable to assume that at least one third of all affected businesses in these areas will be ineligible to apply.

    A simple calculation of the number of grants available from the $260 million package shows that the government are only making 52,000 of the $5,000 grants available to the state's frustrated business community.

    That represents just one in nine of Queensland's 465,000 businesses, or a spend of $559 per business to keep the engine room of the economy alive. This compares with the Queensland Government's $27.474 billion in employee expenses allocated to this year's 2021-22 budget for its public service, or around $117,000 for each of the 235,450 workforce.

    The support package will be made available to eligible businesses all across the state and not just those located in South East Queensland, providing they can show they have experienced at least a 30% reduction in turnover as a result of the lockdown.

    Grants will also be made available for large businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector operating in the 11 local government areas in the lockdown if they meet the eligibility criteria.

    The Commonwealth Government has also made available a lump sum COVID-19 Disaster Payment of $750 for Queensland employees within the affected local government areas who lose over 20 hours during the week for the periods 1st to 7th August and 8th August as well as $450 for those who experience a loss of between 8 and 20 hours.

    Local government areas subject to lockdown restrictions are: Brisbane City Council; Gold Coast City Council; Ipswich City Council; Lockyer Valley Regional Council; Logan City Council; Moreton Bay Regional Council; Noosa Shire Council; Redland City Council; Scenic Rim Regional Council; Somerset Regional Council; and, Sunshine Coast Regional Council.

  • 4 Aug 2021 12:53 PM | Dr Marcus Smith

    Labour Force data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for June 2021 showed that the number of employed persons in Queensland was around 235,000 greater than in June last year on a seasonally adjusted basis, with the number of unemployed persons around 61,500 less.

    The statistics further revealed that Queensland’s headline unemployment rate continued to fall to 5.1% in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, which is at the lowest level since June 2012.

    The statistics also show that more people have become engaged within the state’s work force over the year, with the number of employed persons as a proportion of the state’s population rising from 58.3% to 63.2% year on year to June and the participation rate of the state’s working aged also increasing from 63.3% to 66.7%.

    The ABS release monthly, Detailed Labour Force statistics for regions across the state at the Statistical Area 4 (SA4) level, however, the data is only provided in original terms that is not statistically adjusted to account for sampling error and seasonal factors over different times of the year.

    Each month, however, Conus/CBC Staff Selection produce a trend and seasonally adjusted series for each of the SA4 regions. While trend measures are also a preferred measure to report labour force statistics, the publishing of trend series data remains suspended by the ABS due to the COVID pandemic.

    Accordingly, the Conus/CBC Staff Selection Employment data provides seasonally adjusted labour force series for each of the SA4 regions generated from the ABS original data.  Year-on-year comparisons to June provides an indication of how both the number of employed and unemployed persons has changed over the year for each region in the state.

    The data shows that jobless rates also vary considerably across individual regions compared with the headline unemployment rate for Queensland of 5.1% in June on a seasonally adjusted basis.

    Unemployment rates typically vary quite substantially within each region, the reason for such is complex with many factors such as demographics, industry composition and sectoral shifts, productivity as well as whether it is structural or frictional unemployment.

    Nevertheless, what policy makers including the Reserve Bank of Australia are interested in is achieving what is referred to as ‘full employment’ or a ‘natural rate of unemployment’, which is the lowest rate of unemployment whereby inflation is stable or non-accelerating (Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment, NAIRU).

    What makes estimating this level of unemployment problematic is that it is constantly changing over time.

    With the level of unemployment in Queensland falling sharply, together with job vacancies at historical highs, it is not surprising that anecdotal evidence has been emerging that some regions and industries are facing skills shortages and difficulties finding staff.

    The most recent Australian Government Skills Priority List released for June 2021 provides a detailed analysis of shortages by occupation and state in addition to indicating if shortages are located within regional areas in particular.

    With a view to gleaning some insight into how relatively tight labour markets are across the state indicative of their current jobless rates, the following table provides a statistical analysis of the Conus/CBC Staff Selection Employment seasonally adjusted data to determine the average unemployment rate for the samples of each region to compare to the current level.

    The analysis indicates that regions with jobless rates significantly lower than the historical average include Brisbane East, Brisbane North, Brisbane Inner City, Moreton Bay North, Cairns, Gold Coast, Mackay, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Townsville, and Wide Bay.  

  • 6 Jul 2021 1:56 PM | Dr Marcus Smith

    The quarterly release of Australian Job Vacancies published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for May 2021 reveals a national labour market running hot, recording the highest count on record at 362,500 on a seasonally adjusted basis.

    The figures show  that national job vacancies increased by 68,800 over the three months to May and have increased by 234,900 since May last year as the effects of the pandemic set in.

    Private sector job vacancies continued to lead the rise, increasing by 65,000 to 331,900 over the three months to May, which is 222,300 higher than at May last year.

    Job vacancies in the public sector grew modestly by 2,800 to 30,600 over the three months to May, now 12,600 higher than at May last year.

    Comparing the number of unemployed persons to the number of job vacancies nationwide illustrates how relatively tight the labour market is becoming as the number of jobs to be filled surges, which has fallen to 1.93 unemployed persons per job vacancy, down from 7.18 at May last year and from 3.12 in May 2019.

    The breakdowns by industry (original data) show that, since May last year, the largest growth in job vacancies has occurred in Accommodation and Food Services (33,200), Health Care and Social Assistance (28,000), Retail Trade (22,900), and Construction (21,600).

    Moreover, the ABS Business Conditions and Sentiments for June 2021 reported the growing challenges of skills shortages facing Australian businesses "with 19% of employing businesses reporting that they did not have enough employees based on current operations, compared to 12% in March 2021 and 15% in December 2020 ... businesses in Construction (29%) and Retail Trade (27%) were the most likely to report staff shortages".

    Queensland's job vacancy statistics tell a similar story, increasing by 13,700 over the three months to May, which is 42,000 higher than in May last year.

    The statistics show that all of the 13,700 addition vacancies over the three months to May were attributable to the private sector, which is 38,900 higher than in May last year, while public sector jobs are just 2,100 higher.

    Finally, the number of unemployed persons per job vacancy has also decreased substantially in Queensland, falling to 2.3 unemployed persons per job vacancy which is down from 8 at May last year and from 5.1 in May 2019.

    The strengthening in the jobs market is certainly a precursor to greater levels of inflation, which has been below the RBAs target for some time, and may sooner rather than later become a driver of wage price growth through cost-push inflation.

  • 4 Jul 2021 12:11 PM | Dr Marcus Smith

    The number of people entering bankruptcy in business continued to tumble over the March quarter, 2021 according to data from the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA).

    Over the four-quarters to March 2021, 162 people in business in Queensland entered bankruptcy over the March quarter (818 over the year) with the yearly run rate dropping to 2.2 per day, which is down from around 4.5 per day during the previous four-quarter period to March 2020.

    The numbers further show that Queensland continues to lead the nation on the number of business people entering bankruptcy over the year.

    Comparing the statistics across the nation on a relative basis of bankruptcies per 100,000 population, Queensland also maintains the highest rate of business bankruptcies per capita at 3.12 during the March quarter, down from a rate of 7.4 over the previous March quarter last year.

    The latest monthly insolvency statistics recorded by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for May, 2021 further illustrate the decline in Queensland companies entering external administration with creditor and court wind-ups the major appointment types.

    Breaking down external administrations by industry shows that the top five industries with the greatest incidences of companies entering external administration continues to be those in business and personal services; construction; accommodation and food services; retail trade; rental, hiring and real-estate services; and transport, postal and warehousing.

  • 30 Jun 2021 12:30 PM | Dr Marcus Smith

    New Private Capital Expenditures data compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for March, 2021 show a decline in the real value of total business investment in Queensland from 2008-09 to 2020-21, despite the number of businesses in the state growing by around 40,000 (~10%) to the latest count of almost 465,000 in June 2020.

    Over the four-quarter period to March 2021, the value of the real annual private capital expenditures is over $9 billion (-$9.057 billion, -30.7%) lower than during the same period in 2008-09. (Note the elevated levels in the years 2011-12 to 2014-15 include substantial capital expenditures due to the development of the state’s LNG industry.)

    Disaggregating the data between mining and non-mining real private capital expenditures shows that mining investment was $1.173 billion (-14%) lower between 2008-09 and 2020-21, while private investment in non-mining including education and health was $7.883 billion (-37%) lower.

    The breakdowns between types of real capital expenditures shows that investment in buildings and structures is $3.590 billion (-26%) lower, while investment in equipment, plant and machinery is $5.468 billion (-35%) lower.

    ABS national accounts figures for State Final Demand (equivalent to gross state product excluding the trade balance) further illustrate how private gross fixed capital formation in Queensland has been relatively subdued over the past five years in particular.

    In the 2021-22 Queensland Budgetthe State Government announced a flagship Big Plans for Small Business Strategy, which includes the establishment of a $100 million Business Investment Fund to invest in small- and medium-size businesses that:

    * create Queensland-based jobs;

    * have a proven product and defined market opportunity but require significant capital to aggressively build scale or grow market share;

    * are relatively mature, well beyond proof of concept and are generally profitable or approaching profitability;

    * are seeking capital to expand or restructure operations, enter new markets or finance significant acquisition;

    * have significant Queensland growth potential and demonstrate continued economic growth in Queensland.

    With private business investment being a key driver of employment and economic activity as well as a  barometer of business confidence, the absence of this magical ingredient acts as a handbrake on economic growth.

    And, as the ABS figures show, the State Government certainly has some work to do to turn around what has been a sustained period of subdued business investment within the state.

  • 23 Jun 2021 2:49 PM | Dr Marcus Smith

    The glossy brochures were abound again last week as Queensland's Treasurer, Cameron Dick delivered his second budget with all the usual pomp and fanfare Queensland taxpayers have come to expect, providing an update on the state's finances as well as a glimpse of the State Government's strategy to grow the state economy over the medium term.

    On the face of it, the budget numbers reflect a stroke of good fortune for the government with positive internal migration into the state, a surge in building approvals flowing from the uptake of the federal government’s HomeBuilder program, strong retail sales figures bolstered by federal government stimulus measures including the JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs as well as early superannuation releases, which together pushed the national household savings ratio to a record level of 22% in June 2020.

    In navigating the myriad pages of the 2020-21 Budget, the first task is to examine the economic outlook for the state, which details the assumptions underpinning the forecasts going forward out to 2024-25.

    Accordingly, the figures show that the state economy experienced a robust rebound from the recessionary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, growing by 3.25% over the year to June 2021 after declining by -0.7% during 2019-20, with the forecasts showing growth is anticipated to moderate to 2.75% per annum over the budget estimates.

    The headline unemployment rate in the state is forecast to fall to 5% in 2024-25, which the Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force figures show is a level that has not been achieved in Queensland since April 2009 (acknowledging it reached 5.1% in June 2012 on a seasonally adjusted basis).

    Moreover, the economic forecasts further indicate a sanguine outlook for wage and population growth, which are expected to strengthen over the projections to 2024-25 from their recent subdued levels.

    The projections are also forecasting a substantial pick-up in business investment which has been in decline over the past decade and put a handbrake on economic growth in the state.

    Putting budget forecasts for the level of economic growth into perspective shows that the projections of 2.75% are 0.77% greater than the average of 1.98% over the five years to 2020-21, 0.35% greater than the average of 2.4% over the past 10 years, however, they remain -1.63% lower than over the previous decade 2001-02 to 2010-11 when the economy grew on average by 4.38% per annum.

    Looking at the state’s finances, the net operating balance was revised up substantially in 2020-21 to a deficit of $3.803 billion, which represents an improvement of $4.830 billion from the 2019-20 budget forecast of a $8.663 billion deficit driven predominantly by upward revisions of $2.108 billion in GST revenue and $1.577 in state taxes.

    Moreover, in line with the state government’s optimism for increases to revenue over the coming years, a modest surplus of $153 million is forecast for 2024-25.

    With the upward revisions to revenue, gross debt held by the General Government Sector came in at $55.079 billion in 2020-21, $6.815 billion less than was forecast in last year’s budget.

    Nevertheless, when looking at the total gross public debt of Queensland Government one needs to look at the Non-Financial Public Sector as a whole to account for the debt that has been shifted onto the balance sheets of state-owned corporations.

    Accordingly, total state gross debt for 2020-21 come in at $95.821 billion - an improvement of -$6.399 billion from the 2019-20 budget forecast - and will increase to $127.388 billion in 2024-25.

    Revenue projections over the estimates to 2024-25 show the government is upbeat about future tax receipts, an increase in GST redistribution payments (which made up 50.2% of total revenue in 2020-21) as well as royalty and land rents from an improved outlook for coal and gas receipts.

    Conversely, dividends from state-owned utilities particularly Queensland Government’s energy companies Stanwell and CS Energy, have taken a substantial hit to revenues as pointed out by Robert MacDonald in his article published by InQueensland on June 21st, which questioned whether these power companies could end up eventually costing the state billions.

    Expenses for 2020-21 came in at $64.199 billion, which is $682 million (-1.1%) lower than forecast in last year’s budget, which includes a reduction in employee expenses of $189 million.

    Finally, the budget outlays of $14.688 billion in the government's capital works program (i.e. infrastructure investment) for 2021-22, consisting of $12.606 billion in purchases on non-financial assets and $2.082 billion in capital grants expenses, is $147 million less than last year.

    The capital works outlay as a proportion of government revenue stayed relatively steady at 23.1%, as did employee expenses also at 43.2%.

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