Australia’s economy grew in the June quarter but economists warned that the growth could not last.
According to national accounts figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Wednesday gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.7 per cent in the three months to June, beating economist predictions.
It means that GDP grew by 9.6 percent in the 12 months to June in the wake of Australia’s coronavirus recession, reports Xinhua news agency.
However, the economy is expected to contract significantly in the September quarter due to the strict ongoing lockdowns in the states of New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, which account for about half of Australia’s population.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the figures proved that “the Australian economy is strong” but conceded they would be of “little comfort” to millions of people enduring lockdowns.
“The full impact of the lockdowns in NSW and Victoria will be seen in the September quarter,” he was quoted by Sky News Australia on Wednesday. “It is expected to be negative and see the economy contract by at least two percent.”
The Australian government’s hopes of avoiding a second pandemic recession – defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction – will rely on positive growth in the December quarter.
The rise in GDP in June was driven by a one percentage point increase in private demand and a 1.1 percent increase in household spending from the first quarter of 2021.
Michael Smedes, head of National Accounts at the ABS, said that “continued growth across household spending, private investment and public sector expenditure” was responsible for the strong result.
“Lockdowns had minimal impact on domestic demand, with fewer lockdown days and the prolonged stay-at-home orders in NSW only commencing later in the quarter,” he said.
However, the shadow treasurer, Jim Chalmers, said the numbers meant “the economy was slowing before the Sydney lockdown”.
“Australia’s growth is now slower than the United States, United Kingdom and OECD average and the worst of the economic pain caused by the Morrison government’s incompetence is yet to come,” he said in a statement.