Sydney, Australia, Dec 2 (efe-epa).- Australia’s economic activity grew 3.3 percent during the third quarter of the year and is expected to continue to grow in the fourth, after losses recorded in the first six months of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Following the record 7.0 per cent decline in the June quarter, Australia experienced a partial recovery in the September quarter,” Australian Bureau of Statistics head of national accounts Michael Smedes said in a statement.
The second-quarter drop was the worst on record and confirmed that Australia had entered a technical recession.
Despite the announced growth, in the year to September 2020, GDP dropped 3.8 percent, pending data for the fourth and final quarter.
According to the ABS statement, the reduction in new cases of COVID-19, together with the end of social restrictions and the reopening of trade have been key factors for the rise, although the state of Victoria registered a second wave of the virus which forced a second lockdown.
“Household spending drove the economy, rising 7.9 per cent due to increased spending on both goods and services. Spending on services rose 9.8 per cent, driven by spending on hotels, cafes and restaurants, health and recreation and culture as containment measures were relaxed. The easing of restrictions also increased demand for goods, which rose 5.2 per cent,” the ABS said.
Ahead of the release, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe said Tuesday that “the economic recovery is under way and recent data have generally been better than expected.”
Lowe added, however, that “the recovery is still expected to be uneven and drawn out and it remains dependent on significant policy support (…) it will not be until the end of 2021 that the level of GDP reaches the level attained at the end of 2019.”
He added that GDP is expected to grow by 5 percent in 2021 and 4 percent in 2022.
Australia has accumulated 27,912 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, which includes 908 deaths, of which 20,345 infections and 820 deaths correspond to the state of Victoria.
The government of the Oceanian country has approved several stimulus packages for the economy through aid and subsidies. EFE-EPA