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Global uncertainty puts brakes on investment

Thursday, 24 Jan 2008 ( #344 ) - Australia
Local News Story
Australian manufacturers are tipped to cut back on investment to cope with global uncertainty and a slide in exports, a survey shows.

The Australian Industry (Ai) Group, an umbrella group representing 10,000 employers, says the sector will be relying more on domestic consumers in 2008 as a stronger Australian dollar dents the industry's global competitiveness.

The survey of 500 manufacturers conducted in December forecast that nominal export growth would be 7.5% in 2008, well down from the 13.7% level enjoyed in fiscal 2007.

It reports Australian manufacturers are anticipating moderate growth in 2008 against a background of belt tightening as the sector faces continuing global uncertainty and potential softening in demand.

The survey predicted new capital equipment spending would drop for a second year running, to post a 1.2% fall this year.

Research and development spending is forecast to rise by less than 1%, after an estimated 4.2% climb in 2006/07.

But employment in the manufacturing sector is expected to record a 2.2% increase in 2008, the same level as the previous financial year.
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