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Coronavirus plunges Australia into recession

Coronavirus Plunges Australia Into Recession

CANBERRA – Australia entered its first recession for nearly three decades, with its economy crippled by a pandemic falling a record 7% in the second quarter, official data showed.
With vast swathes of the domestic and global economy shut down to contain the deadly disease, business activity suffered a catastrophic drop — despite authorities providing billions of dollars in support — not even witnessed during the global financial crisis.
“Today’s national accounts confirm the devastating impact on the Australian economy of COVID-19,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.
“Our record-breaking streak of 28 consecutive years of economic growth is now officially over. The cause: a pandemic that will only happen once in a century,” he said.
The economy contracted 7% in April-June compared to the previous three months, in line with government forecasts, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said. This follows a decline of 0.3%. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction.
Gross domestic product fell 6.3% year over year.
“The June quarter saw a significant contraction in household spending on services, as households changed their behavior and restrictions were put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” said Michael Smedes, head of national accounts at the ‘ABS.
Hours worked fell nearly 10 percent, while cash payments of social benefits rose more than 40 percent, two records, while imports and exports also declined.
The country was already reeling from a prolonged drought and massive bushfires that rocked the economy before the disease struck.
The government has landed tens of billions of dollars to combat the economic fallout from the pandemic and Frydenberg said the contraction would have been much worse without such support, which included payments to employers to avoid laying off staff.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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