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Australia's building industry expected to deteriorate in 2013


15:56, January 21, 2013

SYDNEY, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Australia's builders and contractors expect deteriorating conditions in the building and construction industry over the next six months, a national survey conducted by the Master Builders Australia showed on Monday.

The survey of more than 400 builders and contractors across Australia found builders would reduce their workforce due to falling sales and profitability in 2013.

The survey's index measuring builders' current level of business activity fell from 47.4 points to 45.2 points in the past three months to December, remaining below the 50-point mark that indicates satisfaction.

The index measuring builder's intentions regarding staff numbers and the use of subcontractors over the next six months fell to 37.0, indicating builders expect to cut their workforce in the period ahead.

Master Builders Australia chief economist Peter Jones said the survey results support calls for short term stimulus measures in conjunction with further interest rate cuts to help boost the industry.

"Interest rate cuts over the past year appear to have failed to boost the confidence of new home buyers," he said.

"The Reserve Bank has pointed to the building industry to help boost the non-mining sectors of the economy, but this does not look likely unless macroeconomic policy becomes more accommodating. "

Jones said a short term increase in first home owner's grant for new houses from the government is needed.

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