Expected capex OK-ish...
So, capex wasn't too bad in the end.
In terms of future expectations estimated capital expenditure for 2014-15 came in at $137,063 million, which is 12% lower than the corresponding estimate for 2013-14.
A 12% fall is significant, but not nearly as bad as had been feared, nor as bad as the estimates of the last quarter (-17%).
Perhaps more of a moderate decline than a capex cliff? Maybe.
The main driver of the fall was, of course, a decline in mining construction, but there were a few tentative signs of life elsewhere in other industries (though certainly not manufacturing) giving today's capex report at least a delicate flavour of rebalancing.
Let's face facts, though, total capex declined by 4.2% over the quarter and by 5.0% over the past year, so we now appear to have well and truly passed the peak of Australia's decade-long mining construction boom (click chart):
What does this all mean?
Well, GDP growth for the first quarter should remain solid enough.
It feels to be something like 0.7% for the quarter (and thus 3.0% for the year) though don't ask me for the back-of-the-fag-packet workings on that.
But as the year progresses we'll surely be fighting an uphill battle against the declining capital expenditure evidenced in the charts above, as well as declining commodity prices some of which have corrected quite dramatically since the beginning of the year.
Iron ore export volumes out of Port Hedland in the Pilbara (WA) have been soaring and shattering all manner of records as I charted here, but the commodity price has dropped by more than 30% in Aussie dollar terms since the start of the year, which must start to hurt income.
In short, interest rates aren't going anywhere fast on the back of this data, and even the very direction of the next movement in rates remains a coin flip.
It could just as easily be down to 2.25% as up.