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(Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

The national accounts for the March quarter, due on Wednesday, would normally excite plenty of interest, but they're of only historical interest at this point. There's a lot of speculation around whether growth will be flat or negative and, if the latter -- which most economists expect -- negative by how much. But it's still data from a mostly pre-COVID-19 world.

Of greater importance was last week's data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on private investment, which showed a 1.6% fall in actual expenditure in the March quarter (to be down a nasty 6.1% for the year to March) and an even sharper fall of 8.8% in the second estimate for expenditure in the coming 2020-21 year.

The expected expenditure shows businesses plan investment of just $90.89 billion for the year, with falls across the board -- mining down 6.8%, manufacturing down 7% and falls in buildings (11.6%) and structures and plant and machinery (4.5%).