Australian economy shrank by 0.3% in the first quarter of the year, amid bushfires and the early stages of the outbreak bringing the country to face recession the first time in 29 years.
Media reports said gross domestic product fell quarter as entire business sectors were closed due to lock down to fight the coronavirus.
Bureau of Statistics Australia, chief economist Bruce Hockman said that This was the slowest through-the-year growth since September 2009, when Australia was in the midst of the global financial crisis and captures just the beginning of the expected economic effects of Covid-19,” “The Australian economy is going through a very difficult period and is experiencing the biggest economic contraction since the 1930s.”
However, he did add a note of optimism to his outlook: “The depth of the downturn may be less than earlier expected.” “The rate of new infections has dwindled significantly and some restrictions have been eased earlier than was previously thought likely,” he said.
The Australian government has also pledged hundreds of billions of dollars to help support businesses and individuals and has signaled that more stimulus measures would be announced soon.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed the A$2 trillion ($1.39 trillion) economy contracted 0.3% in the quarter ended March, the first decline in nine years.
That took the annual growth to 1.4%, the slowest since the 2009 global monetary crisis, as the economy was hit by the worst bushfire season in living memory, continued drought, and a pandemic that shut down businesses and left many jobless.