Image – Canva, Australian Bureau of Statistics.
  • Imports are down 3% and exports up 3%
  • Retail saw a monthly uptick in activity
  • The economy also grew 1.8% for the quarter

In recent months, CBD retail revival remains a hot topic.

The recent Melbourne lockdowns have continued to put extreme levels of pressure on businesses.

Over the past week, Queensland has moved to make public transport free for a lucky few, creating a lottery system to give some Queenslanders free access to trams, trains, and ferries for a year.

Brisbane also kicked off its Friday fun campaign to try and boost CBD activity too.

It is still too early to determine whether these measures, and others across the country, are effective in bringing people into the CBD.

Economic activity

The quiet CBDs across Australia are clearly no indication of what is happening at a larger scale.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently released figures on Australian economic activity and the numbers are positive.

For the March quarter, economic activity rose 1.8%.

Head of National Accounts at the ABS, Michael Smedes, said:

“With 1.8% growth in the March quarter 2021, Australian economic activity has recovered to be above pre-pandemic levels and has grown 1.1% through the year.” 

Michael Smedes, Head of National Accounts at the ABS

Gross domestic product, chain volume measures, seasonally adjusted
Source- ABS.

The ABS said “Machinery and equipment investment recorded its strongest quarterly rise since December 2009, driven by the continued improvement in business confidence and support from Government tax incentives.”

“”The rise in machinery and equipment investment was widespread and observed in both mining and non-mining industries.” 

Michael Smedes, Head of National Accounts at the ABS

Investment in properties was also on the up.

“Dwelling investment increased for the third consecutive quarter, rising 6.4 per cent. The rise was consistent with the recent surge in building approvals as households took advantage of the HomeBuilder scheme. Gross Value Added (GVA) of the Construction industry rose 4.4 per cent and recorded the strongest contribution to growth across all industries. ”

Retail trade up

The CBD may still be lined with For Lease signs but retail has seen an uptick in activity.

ABS figures show there is a 1.1% increase from March to April, and a 25% increase year on year.

Monthly turnover, current prices - seasonally adjusted estimate
Source – ABS.

Imports and Exports

Ardent proponents of “Made in Australia” will be celebrating the latest figures for imports and exports.

The ABS said exports rose from March to April, up $1.17 billion or 3% to $39.772 billion.

Imports on the other hand fell by 3%, down $1.046 billion.

Goods and services credits (exports), seasonally adjusted

Australian Bureau of Statistics (1)
Source – ABS.


Goods and services debits (imports), seasonally adjusted

Goods and services debits (imports), seasonally adjusted
Source – ABS
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