Australian Economy Grew 0.2%

Australia’s economy expanded in the three months through September for a third straight quarter, boosted by government spending on roads, ports and schools.

Gross domestic product gained 0.2 percent from the second quarter, when it rose 0.6 percent, the Bureau of Statistics said. The economy grew 0.5 percent from a year earlier, the report showed.

Growth in Australia, one of the few economies to skirt the global recession, will accelerate in 2010 as demand rises for exports such as iron ore, and as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spends A$22 billion ($20 billion) on infrastructure including schools, the central bank said yesterday.

Consumer spending advanced 0.7 percent in the quarter, adding 0.4 percentage point to GDP, today’s report said. Exports decreased 2.3 percent. Government spending rose 0.7 percent.

Australia’s economy is expanding faster and generating more jobs than the government and central bank forecast at the start of the year as China’s demand for raw materials including iron ore, coal and gas prompts mining and energy companies such as BHP Billiton Ltd., Woodside Petroleum Ltd. and Santos Ltd. to increase investment and hire workers.

Employers added 99,500 workers between the start of September and Nov. 30, the biggest three-month hiring surge in three years, a report showed last week. The jobless rate fell to 5.7 percent from 5.8 percent.

Signs of stronger economic growth and hiring by companies prompted central bank governor Glenn Stevens to raise borrowing costs by a quarter percentage point on Dec. 1 to 3.75 percent, adding to similar moves in November and October.

Australian Economy Grew 0.2%, Bloomberg
12/15/2009 11:36:37 PM