I covered what the problem is with this data point earlier, in the previews, but ...

Here is the response from Westpac to the data, which serves as an ICYMI and also a bit more insight

(in brief)

Construction work fell back in Q4

  • down 19.4%
  • after outcomes in Q2 and Q3 were inflated by the importation of large LNG structures.

Currently, the headline figure for the survey is not a reliable indicator for the national accounts.

Excluding private engineering (the segment distorted by this accounting issue), provides some insights into Q4 activity.

On this basis, activity in Q4 was softer than anticipated

  • a temporary dip in public infrastructure work (a sizeable work pipeline and with state governments committing to further projects, particularly transport initiatives)
  • private new residential building work declining
  • Non-residential building work advanced strongly ... There is considerable further upside to commercial building work in 2018