Australian economic growth above expectations

<p>The Australian economy is expanding faster than anticipated.</p>

The Australian economy is continuing to expand at a greater rate than predicted, according to the release of the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Data revealed by ABS today (June 4th) shows growth in the January to March period was 1.1 per cent, while analysts had been expecting the increase to come in at around the 0.9 per cent mark.

Annual growth is now up to 3.5 per cent, which is the highest the figure has stood in the last two years, indicating Australia's economy is set for a brighter future.

Mining has been one of the main industries pushing the Australian economy forward in the last few years and this has continued to be the case in the first quarter of the year, the figures released by the ABS show. Mining accounted for 80 per cent of the growth recorded by the Australian economy between January and March this year. The ABC figures show mining contributed 0.9 percentage points to GDP growth in the three-month period.

Net trade

Tom Kennedy, an economist with JP Morgan, told BBC News: "The bulk of this better-than-expected growth has come from net trade – with very strong exports over the quarter and that maps back to the resource sector with very strong shipments of iron ore and coal. When you look at growth generated domestically, that actually contracted in the first quarter."

He explained this is due to the fact the Australian labour market remains "soft" and this means there is a lot of consumer caution around, potentially holding back further economic growth.

Mr Kennedy pointed out that another key factor is that Australia currently has "a central bank that's keeping things pretty accommodating at the moment".

The ABS also explained that growth for the quarter was driven by a 1.4 percentage point contribution from net exports, while there was also a 0.3 percentage point contribution from final consumption expenditure.

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