Australia dodges recession with 0.4 percent growth

Australia’s economy grew by 0.4 percent over the March quarter, ending speculation of a technical recession

Australia’s economy grew by 0.4 percent over the March quarter, ending speculation of a technical recession.

Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures show that, in trend terms, GDP fell by 0.1 percent and non-farm GDP decreased by 0.2 percent, yet grew 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent respectively in seasonally adjusted terms.

The data reveals positive contributors to GDP growth were imports (1.6 percentage points), exports (0.6 percentage points) and household final consumption expenditure (0.3 percentage points).

On the other hand, the largest negative contribution came from private business investment, which contracted by -1.1 percentage points.

According to the ABS, manufacturing and property and business services both detracted 0.3 percentage points from GDP growth, while construction detracted 0.2 percentage points.

In seasonally adjusted terms, final consumption expenditure increased 0.5 percent, gross fixed capital formation fell 4.8 percent, the GDP chain price index decreased 1.3 percent, terms of trade reduced 7.8 percent, and real net disposable income fell 1.7 percent over the quarter.

When interpreting the trend estimates, a number of fiscal measures and their impacts must be taken into account, warns the ABS.

The Federal Government’s ‘economic security’ package implemented in December 2008 and further hand-outs in March 2009 have undoubtedly altered the figures.

"These Federal Government initiatives have had significant one-off impacts to government social assistance benefits paid to households," says the ABS.

"These measures have distorted the regular pattern of this series and have therefore been removed from the seasonal factor and trend estimation processes, although the full impacts of these measures are still reflected in the original and seasonally adjusted estimates."

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