Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 06/06/2014 -- It is our view that the Australian economy is not yet out of the woods, despite improving near-term economic indicators and more optimistic sentiment in the financial markets. With the capital investment in the mining sector set to slow significantly, and worth almost twice the size of work in the residential real estate market, we do not expect increased investment in the housing sector and related-spillover effects to be sufficient. With our expectations for the unemployment rate to take a turn for the worse in the coming months, we expect real GDP growth to slow further to 2.0% in 2014, from 2.4% in 2013.
Meanwhile, we believe that the sharp increase in Australian exports in January will wane over the coming months on the back of our downbeat view for demand growth for iron ore from the Chinese steel sector. The freight industry will be sure to keep a keen eye on developments. Indeed, given that the growth in iron ore exports contributed more than 40% of the increase in Australian merchandise exports in January (and boosted the trade surplus to AUD2.9bn), we do not expect the surge to pose significant upside risks to our outlook for Australia's fortunes in the coming quarters.
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We are sticking with our view from last quarter that the Australian freight mix is once more set for an uninspiring 12 months. While the ports of Sydney and Melbourne are both set to see year-on-year (y-o-y) growth come in at over 3%, air freight and road freight will see annual gains come in at a lower 2.60% and 2.50% respectively. Rail freight will perform worst of all the modes, with y-o-y pencilled in at just 1.30%.
Headline Industry Data
- 2014 air freight tonnage is expected to grow by 2.60%.
- 2014 rail freight tonnage is forecast to grow by 1.30%.
- 2014 Port of Melbourne tonnage throughput is forecast to increase by 3.01%.
- 2014 Port of Sydney tonnage throughput is forecast to grow by 3.80%.
- 2014 road freight is forecast to increase by 2.50%.
- 2014 total real trade growth is forecast to grow by 3.33%.
NorthConnex Selection Highlights Greater Execution And Diversity - The selection of the preferred bidder for the NorthConnex motorway in Sydney, New South Wales, supports our view that the victory of the Liberal-National coalition in the 2013 federal elections could lead to a broad-based improvement in project execution for all public-led infrastructure projects in Australia. This selection also underlines growing opportunities in the Australia roads sector as well as growing diversity in the competitive landscape of the Australian infrastructure sector.
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