Many positives in growth data: treasurer

sluggish economic growth

With 26 years of uninterrupted economic expansion under its belt, new figures will indicate how Australia entered year 27.

July retail spending and international trade numbers are due on Thursday, two areas that have helped a marked rebound in the economy after a slow start to the year.

The June-quarter national accounts released on Wednesday showed the economy grew by 0.8 per cent, more than double the slim 0.3 per cent rate secured in the first three months of the year.

Household expenditure, government spending, business investment and exports all helped lift the economy during the quarter.

However, it still left the annual rate of growth at 1.8 per cent and well short of the rate normally associated with sustainable employment growth at closer to three per cent.

But Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe and Treasurer Scott Morrison are confident as economic growth continues to build, so will people’s wages.

Economists expect retail spending by a more modest 0.2 per cent in July against the backdrop of shaky consumer sentiment because of slow wages growth, rising energy costs, and high household debt.

They also expect the monthly trade balance to eke out to a surplus of $950 million in July after an $856 million surplus in June.

Morrison insists there is a lot to be happy about in Australia’s latest growth figures, even though the annual rate remains relatively low.

“You’ve got good growth in exports, you’ve got good growth in investment, you’ve got public investment in particular … so that is where that encouragement comes from,” Morrison told ABC radio on Thursday.

But opposition finance spokesman Jim Chalmers said the treasurer wanted Australians to believe they were a “beautiful set of numbers”.

“It says it all about the treasurer. He is walking around this building, patting himself on the back for numbers which show wages are going backwards,” Dr Chalmers told Sky News.

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