Australia's economy gathers pace in September quarter

AP News
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Posted: Dec 02, 2015 5:33 AM

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The threat of recession in Australia receded with new data on Wednesday showing the economy gathered pace in the most recent quarter as mining exports grew.

Mining companies are making up for falling iron ore prices by cranking up tonnages to China of Australia's most lucrative export.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released on Wednesday show the economy expanded 0.9 percent during the September quarter from the previous quarter and 2.5 percent from a year earlier. The $1.45 trillion economy grew a slower-than-expected 0.2 percent in the April-June quarter.

The Australian economy has been buffeted by weak commodity prices and the Chinese economic slowdown, which led to predictions it would suffer its first recession in more than two decades. The iron ore price reached a 10-year low of $42 a metric ton on Tuesday. The price peaked at $185 in 2011.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said the economy is shifting gears after a mining investment boom that carried it through the global financial crisis.

"Over the last seven years, the Australian economy has experienced the biggest structural swings in a century," Morrison told reporters.

"While economic transitions of this magnitude are rarely seamless, the rebalancing continues to take place and the Australian economy is evolving, it is broadening and it is growing," he said.

Australia is in a record 25th year without recession. The economy has grown in every quarter except one since September 1991.

The only wealthy country to enjoy a longer period of continuous growth in modern times was the Netherlands which expanded for 26 years from 1982 until 2008.

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This story has been corrected to show that the low for the iron ore price was $42.