Australia's business inventories unexpectedly dropped by 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, following a revised 0.1 percent fall in the previous period and missing market consensus of a 0.4 percent rise. There were decreases in stocks at miners (-2.8 percent vs -1.2 percent in Q3); manufacturers (-0.8 percent vs 0.1 percent); and electricity, gas, water & waste services providers (-0.5 percent vs -1.9 percent). In contrast, inventories increased at wholesale traders (0.4 percent vs -0.8 percent); retailers (0.4 percent vs 1.8 percent); and accommodation and food services providers (6.9 percent vs -4.1 percent). Through the year to the fourth quarter, business inventories were up 1.0 percent. Business Inventories in Australia averaged 0.53 percent from 1985 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 2.80 percent in the first quarter of 1999 and a record low of -2.80 percent in the third quarter of 1986.
Business Inventories in Australia is expected to be 0.60 percent by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Business Inventories in Australia to stand at 0.50 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the Australia Business Inventories is projected to trend around 0.40 percent in 2020, according to our econometric models.