Australian economy bounces back to dodge recession

That surplus will contribute 0.2 percentage point to the December quarter measure of gross domestic product, which is to be released by the ABS on Wednesday.

The Australian dollar jumped to 76.87 USA cents from 76.45 United States cents prior to the numbers being released.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said the annual rate of growth was a faster-than-expected 2.4 percent, from 1.8 percent in the previous quarter.

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Economic growth rebounded in the December quarter, shattering fringe predictions of a recession, as a surge in exports boosted the national income.

Australia's economy rebounded sharply last quarter as commodity exports boomed while consumers and the government lifted spending, extending the resource rich nation's 25-year streak of uninterrupted expansion.

The NBS report revealed that the nation's GDP figures for the fourth quarter of 2016 contracted by -1.3 per cent, an improvement over the -2.24 per cent contraction of the third quarter of a year ago. Indeed, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that Nigeria's economy will grow by 0.8 percent in 2017.

Global Research, Standard Chartered bank, London, said that while the analysts were expecting a full year contraction (the actual print of -1.5% y/y is marginally better than our expectation of -1.7% y/y), it's the detail that makes for the more important reading.

An economist who spoke with LEADERSHIP yesterday said the GDP figure had raised the hope that the recession may have bottom-up with the improving trends in several key sectors of the economy, including agriculture and mining.

According to the ABC, compensation of employees, or pay packets, was down for the first time since the September quarter of 2012, with wages growth "the weakest on records back to the late-1990s".

"The outlook for the next year is reasonably bright", Shane Oliver of AMP Capital said.

The trade surplus fell to $1.3 billion in January, from December's $3.3 billion, as exports slipped three per cent and imports rose four per cent.

Treasury secretary John Fraser, speaking just before the release of the data, said his department continues to see the economy as fundamentally strong "but finely balanced".

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