Many positives in growth data: treasurer

Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent
(Australian Associated Press)

Treasurer Scott Morrison insists there is a lot to be happy about in Australia’s latest growth figures, even though the annual rate remains relatively low.

Wednesday’s national accounts showed the economy expanded 0.8 per cent in the June quarter, a marked rebound from the 0.3 per cent posted in the first three months of the year.

However the annual rate only edged up to 1.8 per cent, well below the economy’s potential growth rate closer to three per cent.

Even so, Mr Morrison is pleased to see the stronger growth in business investment, something he’s long been waiting on.

“You’ve got good growth in exports, you’ve got good growth in investment, you’ve got public investment in particular … so that is where that encouragement comes from,” Mr Morrison told ABC radio on Thursday.

But opposition finance spokesman Jim Chalmers said the treasurer wanted Australians to believe they were a “beautiful set of numbers”.

“It says it all about the treasurer. He is walking around this building, patting himself on the back for numbers which show wages are going backwards,” Dr Chalmers told Sky News.

Still, the economy now has 26 years of uninterrupted economic expansion under its belt and new figures on Thursday will indicate how Australia entered year 27.

July retail spending and international trade numbers are due on Thursday, two areas that have helped support the June quarter result.

Economists expect retail spending to increase by a more modest 0.2 per cent in July against the backdrop of shaky consumer sentiment because of slow wages growth, rising energy costs and high household debt.

They also expect the monthly trade balance to eke out to a surplus of $950 million in July after an $856 million surplus in June.


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