The Australian economy grew at a sluggish 0.3% in the September quarter, seasonally adjusted, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed this morning, well below market expectations and suggesting Treasurer Joe Hockey's budget woes are only going to get worse.
There's no need for panic: annual growth for the year to September -- 2.7% -- remains within the frame of the Reserve Bank and Treasury, neither of which expect a return to trend growth of around 3% or a little more until late in 2015. In May, Treasury forecast 2.75% for the whole of 2013-14 and 2.5% growth in 2014-15, and last month the RBA picked 2.5% for calendar 2014 and 2-3% for 2014-15. But the economy will now need a boost in the current quarter, continuing into next year if those forecasts are to be met. Mining's contribution to growth -- unlike in June -- was positive, but very weak, and below that of financial services, while construction dragged the economy lower.