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Sean Callow, analyst at Westpac, suggests that for Australia, the record A$20bn trade surplus helped GDP avoid a zero or even negative result.

Key Quotes

“It was stunning to see Australia report its first current account surplus since 1975, around 1% of GDP, with the trade surplus 4% of GDP.”

“Beyond that though, there wasn’t much to cheer. Growth over the year of 1.4% was the weakest since 2009 and slower than population growth. The growth drivers are a concern too, with private demand contracting – see chart. Business investment is falling, construction is yet to recover and consumer spending is up just 1.4%yr.”

“We can at least hope for better consumption data once the targeted tax cuts reach household bank accounts. And infrastructure activity should also pick up, as the RBA noted in its statement this week. It predicted growth would “strengthen gradually to be around trend over the next couple of years.”

“But this implies no real progress on lowering Australia’s unemployment rate and what the RBA terms the “trade and technology disputes” remain a major headwind, even if today brought a glimmer of hope as the US and China at least confirmed high level trade talks in early October.”

“The RBA’s wary optimism, GDP data and more positive headlines on US-China trade helped AUD lead the G10 over the past week. It would be surprising if it can keep top spot in the week ahead.”