The total number of building approvals issued in Australia spiked a seasonally adjusted 17.1 percent on month in January, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Monday – standing at 19,851.
That topped expectations for an increase of 5.0 percent following the 0.2 percent gain in December.
On a yearly basis, building approvals advanced 12.0 percent – again exceeding expectations for a decline of 0.5 percent following the 5.0 percent contraction in the previous month.
Approvals issued for private sector houses fell 1.1 percent on month and jumped 6.0 percent on year to 9,825.
Approvals for dwellings excluding houses skyrocketed 42.2 percent on month and 18.1 percent on year to 9,748.
The value of total building approved rose 2.7 percent in January.
The value of residential building rose 18.3 percent, while the value of non-residential building fell 20.7 percent.
Also on Monday:
• Company operating profits in Australia advanced a seasonally adjusted 2.2 percent on quarter in the fourth quarter of 2017, the ABS said.
That topped expectations for an increase of 1.5 percent following the 0.2 percent decline in the three months prior. On a yearly basis, profits climbed 4.3 percent.
Inventories added 0.2 percent on quarter, missing forecasts for 0.5 percent but unchanged from the previous three months. On a yearly basis, inventories gained 1.0 percent.
Wages and salaries gained 1.0 percent on quarter and 4.3 percent on year.
• The service sector in Australia continued to expand in February, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group revealed with a Performance of Service Index score of 54.0.
That’s down from 54.9, although it remains well above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. It was the 12th straight month of expansion.
Individually, all five sub-indexes expanded including new orders, sales, employment, deliveries and stocks.
Capacity utilization dropped back to 78.0 percent, down from 81.1 percent in January but remained above the long-term average of 75.6 percent.
• Consumer prices in Australia are predicted to slow in February, the latest survey from TD Securities and the Melbourne Institute showed with prices expected to ease 0.1 percent on month. That follows the 0.3 percent monthly increase in January.
On a yearly basis. Consumer prices are tipped to rise 2.1 percent – accelerating from 2.0 percent in the previous month.