8 Mar 2012

Slight slowdown in Australia's economic growth

7:28 am on 8 March 2012

Australia's economy expanded by less than expected in the fourth quarter of last year.

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.4% in the three months to the end of December compared with the previous three months.

This was a slowdown from expansion of 0.8 per cent in the previous quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show a seasonally adjusted GDP growth was 2.3% last year, which was slightly less than expected.

HSBC Australia and New Zealand chief economist Paul Bloxham says that despite the end-of-year slowdown, Australia's economy has still grown for 20 consecutive years, a feat unmatched by other developed countries.

"The mining investment story is the key driver of growth over the year and other parts of the economy have been weaker.

"Household consumption was a bit slower in the fourth quarter, and we saw that dwelling investment continued to fall."

Mr Bloxham said the latest numbers reveal a continuing two-speed economy.