Country Report Australia October 1996 Main report

Economy: Company profits fall sharply--

Company profits before income tax fell by 7.8% (seasonally adjusted) during the second quarter. This fall was greater than the revised (downward) 5.2% increase of the previous quarter. For 1995/96 as a whole company profits before tax fell by 3.9%. The fall was largest for transport and storage (down by 70%) and the manufacturing sector (down by 22.6%). In the case of transport and storage, the large quarterly decline followed a similar sized increase for the previous quarter. The industry recorded growth of over 63% in pre-tax profits during 1995/96. The manufacturing decline is more worrying, coming at the end of several quarters of falling or flat profitability. The manufacturing sector's profit before tax fell by 20% during 1995/96.

--but some sectors show growth

Substantial increases in company profits were recorded in some industries. The profit before tax of the property and business services industry rose by just under 139% during the second quarter (seasonally adjusted), and followed a similar increase in the first quarter. For 1995/96 as a whole the industry's profit before tax rose by 615%. Profit before tax for the construction sector increased by almost 54% during the second quarter. However, growth during this quarter and the two preceding ones was not sufficient to offset the large fall in profitability which occurred early in the fiscal year, and the industry recorded an overall fall in profits of almost 32% during 1995/96. To a large extent, this reflects the decline in activity in dwelling construction. Mining profits rose by 13.5% during the quarter and by 28% during 1995/96 as a whole.

© 1996 The Economist lntelligence Unit Ltd. All rights reserved
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