01/06/2016 - 11:35

Exports drive national growth

01/06/2016 - 11:35

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Western Australian state final demand has contracted for the 10th consecutive quarter, while national GDP figures grew at their fastest rate for nearly four years

Exports were up nationally, driven by the huge capacity increase in recent years.

Western Australian state final demand has contracted for the 10th consecutive quarter, while national GDP figures grew at their fastest rate for nearly four years.

The domestic part of WA’s economy shrunk by $764 million in the three months to the end of March, to just below $51 billion.

That was driven almost entirely by lower private investment.

There has been just one quarter of growth since December 2012.

Those numbers only tell half the story, however, as they do not factor in increased net exports, which nationally were up 1.1 per cent.

Year-on-year national GDP growth was 3.2 per cent in trend terms, and 0.9 per cent in March.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the data was strong although there were risks on the horizon.

"We are in an uncertain economic environment globally,’’ he said.

"Many opportunities, great opportunities but great challenges.

"You cannot succeed without a clear economic plan, so everything we have is encouraging companies to invest, to employ."

Commsec chief economist Craig James said there was a mountain of evidence that the economy was strong.

“The economy is not only growing at the fastest rate in 3.5 years, it is growing faster than the normal rate – the 10-year or 15-year average,” he said.

“And what is happening is what is supposed to be happening, mining construction gave us extra production capacity, now that extra capacity is being put to work.”

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