< 1min read
PREVIOUS ARTICLE Law suit over Trump's social m... NEXT ARTICLE Renovation approvals fall most...

Australia’s economy contracted 0.3 per cent in the March quarter, according to official figures that mostly predate the economic damage from the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Gross domestic product grew just 1.4 per cent in the 12 months to March 31 as the economy took a hit from the bushfires and the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday.

“This was the slowest through-the-year growth since September 2009 when Australia was in the midst of the global financial crisis and captures just the beginning of the expected economic effects of COVID-19,” ABS chief economist Bruce Hockman said.

Public demand contributed 0.3 per cent percentage points to GDP, driven by a 1.8 per cent rise in public spending as governments responded to the bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Private demand subtracted 0.8 percentage points from GDP, driven mostly by a 1.1 per cent fall in household spending as air transport stopped and hotels, cafes and restaurants closed.