Economists expect a strong recovery in growth
The latest national accounts are expected to show that the economy rebounded strongly in the December quarter and avoided the pain of another recession following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said Australia’s economy had since proven resilient to the Omicron variant, but warned the war in Ukraine was a major new source of uncertainty.
Leaving the cash rate unchanged at a record high of 0.1% at Tuesday’s monthly board meeting, Dr Lowe said there were uncertainties about the persistence of the euro recovery. inflation given recent developments in global energy markets and ongoing supply-side issues.
“While inflation has picked up, it is too early to conclude that it is sustainably within the target range,” Dr Lowe said.
“The board is prepared to be patient as it monitors developments in the various factors affecting inflation in Australia.”
Economists expect the RBA to lift the cash rate later this year.
Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will release the December quarter national accounts on Wednesday.
Household spending is expected to be the main driver of a strong expansion in growth in the last three months of 2021, with some economists now believing it could reach 4%.
The economy contracted 1.9% in the September quarter due to lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT associated with the impact of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
A recession, like the one seen in 2020, occurs when there are two consecutive quarters of economic contraction.
Retail spending – a central part of the economic growth equation – rose a record 8.2% in the December quarter after falling 4.4% three months earlier.
Business inventories – inventory on the shelves and in warehouses – are expected to have contributed a full percentage point to growth in the quarter, while exports are now expected to contract only slightly after international trade figures of Tuesday.
Business investment remained broadly flat in the quarter, but residential construction was surprisingly weak.