Australia's economy takes sharpest dive since the 1930s

04 Septembre, 2020, 16:41 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Australia's economy takes sharpest dive since the 1930s

Australia has fallen into recession for the first time in three decades and Brazil's economy shrank by nearly 10 per cent because of the coronavirus, leaving China as the only major nation still recording economic growth during the pandemic.

That means Australia has now joined the U.S., Japan, UK, and Germany all in recession. The bureau's head of national accounts, Michael Smedes, said the pandemic and containment efforts were to blame for the "unprecedented" drop that exceeded previous records "by a wide margin".

The second quarter shrink was also the highest of the country's quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) since records began in 1959. As such, social assistance payments skyrocketed by a "record" 41.6% as Australians turned to the government for support in the face of job loss or reduced pay.

The biggest drag on the Australian economy was a 12.1 % drop in household spending, the largest on record.

"The June quarter saw a significant contraction in household spending on services as households altered their behavior and restrictions were put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus", said Smedes.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has indicated the bringing forward of already legislated personal income tax cuts will form part of next month's budget.

Josh Frydenberg, Treasurer of Australia, said: "Today's national accounts confirm the devastating impact on the Australian economy from Covid-19".

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"As the restrictions are eased over time there will be more consumption", Mr Frydenberg said.

The contraction, which was deeper than median forecast of 5.9 percent, comes as Victoria state remains in a lockdown to curb the spread of the virus while global borders are shut too.

Frydenberg said the Treasury Department was forecasting "slightly negative or flat" growth in the September quarter.

Since March, more than a million Australians have lost their jobs.

The government unveiled almost $220 billion worth of economic stimulus packages, however the recent data shows it needs more for the recovery.

As of Wednesday, Australia had succeeded in suppressing COVID-19 throughout most of the country, excluding the state of Victoria where strict lockdowns had seen daily case rates plunge to less than 100 since peaking at over 700 in early August.

Looking forward, Chief Economist at BIS Oxford Economics Sarah Hunter told Xinhua that Australia's economy would continue to feel the weight of Victoria's virus outbreak in the figures for the current quarter and likely wouldn't return to pre-pandemic levels until 2022.

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