Australian economy now among the world's strongest

Dec 31, 2011 12:00 AM

by Freya Petersen

As economies across Europe sputter, Australia's has produced an "exceptional result" for its treasurer Wayne Swan (recently rated the world's best, incidentally).
Gross domestic product increased by 1 % in the September quarter -- the second consecutive quarter of solid growth -- placing the resource-rich country among the top-5 performing industrialized nations. Only the economies of China (2.3 %), US (2 %) and Japan (1.5 %) grew by more.

Australia's was the only advanced economy to weather the global downturn without entering recession. Construction and mining were the main drivers of Australia's quarterly GDP growth, adding 0.4 and 0.3 percentage points respectively, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham was quoted as saying: "I think these figures show that the Australian economy is still in pretty good shape, and that's reflected in the fact that we've got strong GDP growth in the third quarter. It's been supported by very strong growth in mining investment, and there are some divergences in sectors and states, but overall, the economy's still doing well."

Swan, meantime, said the figures showed that Australia was better placed than most to face a turbulent global economy.
"Today's figures are an exceptional outcome, particularly at a time when most economies are struggling to grow at all and are suffering mass unemployment," Swan told in Canberra.

His political opponents, however, questioned why "the world's best treasurer" -- so named by distinguished magazine Euromoney "for his careful stewardship of Australia's finances and economic performance, both during and since the global financial crisis" -- managed to drive the country's finances further into the red.
Andrew Robb, from News reported, said that "it 'beggars belief' that with the economy growing so strongly, government debt increased by $ 26 bn and the budget deficit blew out by a further $ 15 bn".

Swan's response? Swan said such talk was just "silly" and he wished the opposition would stop talking the economy down.
However: It’s the silly season, after all.

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