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Australian GDP figures may have avoided recession

Australia’s latest gross domestic product (GDP) data is due out today with economists raising hopes that the lucky country will narrowly avoid a technical recession.

Exports data released yesterday delivered more promise than expected, showing that the current account deficit narrowed to A$4.6 billion in the first quarter from a $6.4 billion deficit in the fourth quarter of last year.

Net exports are now expected to add 2.2 percentage points to GDP growth for the quarter.

This means today’s GDP data should show the Australian economy expanding over the March quarter, after contracting 0.5% in the December quarter, JP Morgan economist Helen Kevans forecast.

Other economists were more conservative, sticking by forecasts of contraction.

If Australia does not report two consecutive quarters of negative growth, it misses the technical definition of a recession.

In other Australian news yesterday, the Reserve Bank left the official cash rate unchanged at 3%.

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