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GDP growth misses forecasts

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The Australian economy expanded at a slower pace than expected in the first quarter of 2024.

Australian gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.1 per cent in the March quarter 2024 and 1.1 per cent since March 2023 (seasonally adjusted, chain volume measure), according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Wednesday.

This came in below the 0.2 per cent increase predicted by forecasters.

“GDP growth was weak in March, with the economy experiencing its lowest through the year growth since December 2020,” said Katherine Keenan, ABS head of national accounts.

“GDP per capita fell for the fifth consecutive quarter, falling 0.4 per cent in March and 1.3 per cent through the year.”

Domestic final demand was subdued this quarter, growing 0.2 per cent, the ABS said. The rise in imports of goods and services was offset by an increase in exports and change in inventories.

Government final consumption expenditure rose 1.0 per cent in March. Both national (+1.2 per cent) and state and local (+0.8 per cent) spending contributed to this increase.

“Government benefits for households drove the growth in government spending, as the federal government increased spending on medical services and some state governments provided energy bill relief payments,” Keenan said.

Household spending rose 0.4 per cent in the March quarter, while total capital investment fell 0.9 per cent.

Net trade detracted 0.9 percentage points from GDP growth this quarter, with stronger imports (+5.1 per cent) than exports (+0.7 per cent).

More to come.