Australia avoids recession with growth in December quarter

Oil production - Nigeria's economic mainstay - fell to 1.833 million barrels a day previous year after 2.13 million bpd in 2015, it added, blaming militant attacks in the Niger Delta oil hub.

Australia continues to close in on the Netherlands' record of 103 quarters without a recession, which Deloitte Access Economics has predicted it will surpass this year.

Annualised growth was 2.4 per cent nationally, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The NBS report revealed that the nation's GDP figures for the fourth quarter of 2016 contracted by -1.3 per cent, an improvement over the -2.24 per cent contraction of the third quarter of past year.

"The good news is that the economy has bounced back decisively out of its third-quarter pothole", said Michael Blythe, economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

SYDNEY, March 2 (Reuters) - Australia's trade surplus shrank unexpectedly in January as bad weather hit resource exports and imports rebounded strongly, though the quarterly current account might still edge into the black for the first time since the mid-1970s.

Insurgent Attacks in Homs, Syria, Kill at Least 42
The attack comes as government and opposition delegations join peace talks in Geneva sponsored by the United Nations. The Islamic State website claimed they included eight Turkish soldiers and 60 rebel fighters.

Coal and iron ore prices and liquefied natural gas exports would help turn things around in coming months, he said.

Helping keep the economy growing, the solid 0.5 percentage point contribution from household consumption was financed by consumers running down their savings. Based on those figures, Australia's annual economic growth rate dropped from 3.3% to just 1.8%.

The ratio of Australia's export prices to that of import prices, also called as the terms of trade, upped by 9.1 percent.

A review of the recent figures released by the NBS, show a contraction of 1.30 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016, translating into an estimated economic growth rate of 1.51 per cent for the full year.

"Nevertheless, the overall outcome for the year was that the agricultural sector grew by 4.11% for the whole of 2016 which was higher than the figure of 3.72% for 2015", he said. The terms of trade are now 15.6% higher than the December quarter of 2015.

Fraser said he did not believe the result represents the "underlying pulse" of the economy and treasury and market economists expected it to rebound.

  • Sonia Alvarado