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Business investment upbeat in final months of 2022

New private capital spending lifted 2.2 per cent to $35 billion in the December quarter, beating market expectations.

This follows a 0.6 per cent lift in new spending on equipment and other physical assets in the three months to September, revised up from a 0.6 per cent fall.

Economists were forecasting a 1.1 per cent lift over the December quarter.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics' capex report revealed a sharp 3.6 per cent uplift in building and structures expenditure and a more modest 0.6 per cent rise in equipment, plant, and machinery spending.

The equipment, plant and machinery component feeds directly into growth figures, due next Wednesday, but buildings and structures do not.

The 2.8 per cent quarterly uptick in non-mining capex drove the strong fourth quarter result.

Mining investments grew by 0.7 per cent in the December quarter.

BIS Oxford Economics head of macroeconomic forecasting Sean Langcake said the data suggested strong investment activity in the final months of 2022.

"There was a relatively strong pipeline of work to be done over this period," he said.

"The easing of supply bottlenecks facilitated a strong pick-up in activity over the second half of the year."

The report also contained planned investment for the 2023/24 financial year, with the $129.7 billion figure 11.1 per cent higher than an earlier estimate.

ANZ senior economist Adelaide Timbrell said the forward-looking figure signalled a willingness to take on risks and expand despite expectations of slowing economic growth and squeezed household budgets.

"Higher-than-normal inflation plays into this, since the 11 per cent year-on-year rise is in spending, not volume of activity."

The capex report follows a 0.4 per cent fall in completed construction work for the December quarter, which is another component that slots into the national accounts.

The ABS also released its average weekly earnings report, with full-time average earnings lifting by 3.4 per cent.

Average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time adults was $1808 in November 2022.

"The recent annual increase in full-time average earnings of 3.4 per cent, or $59 per week, is the highest it has been since May 2020, when low paid jobs were particularly impacted during the lockdowns early in the pandemic," ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said.

"Prior to the pandemic, the last time it increased by more than that during a year, was in May 2013, when it increased by 5.3 per cent."