(Bloomberg) -- Australian businesses from construction to mining boosted their spending plans for the current fiscal year in a positive sign for the economy’s outlook as it recovers from virus-induced lockdowns along the east coast.

Firms intend to invest A$138.6 billion ($99.8 billion) in the 12 months through June 2022, a 10% increase on actual spending a year earlier and well in excess of levels seen in the three years prior to the pandemic, Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed Thursday.

The result is likely to boost the Reserve Bank of Australia’s confidence in the economy’s prospects as the board prepares to review the A$4 billion weekly pace of its bond-buying program in February. Su-Lin Ong at Royal Bank of Canada put the odds of quantitative easing ending at that meeting at 30%.

The capex data is “likely to see markets continue to price in multiple hikes over the year ahead,” said Ong, head of Australian economic and fixed-income strategy at RBC. Money markets are wagering the RBA will start its policy tightening cycle with a 15 basis point hike to 0.25% by May 2022.

Today’s report showed the Covid lockdowns weighed on outlays, with total capital expenditure slipping 2.2% in the three months through September from the prior quarter. Spending on equipment, plant and machinery fell 4.1%, suggesting it will detract from economic growth in the period. 

The ABS releases third-quarter gross domestic product data on Wednesday.

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