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Australia’s Economic Growth Slows

September 1, 1999

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) _ Australia’s economic growth slowed to 4.1 percent in the three months ending June 30, as investment slumped and exports remained subdued, official data released Wednesday showed.

The country’s gross domestic product grew by 0.2 percent, seasonally adjusted, in the year’s second quarter, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said.

The quarterly result was below market expectations, which centered on a rise of about 0.5 percent for the quarter after revised 1.4 percent GDP growth in the previous quarter.

The bureau said the major contributors to growth were increased household consumption spending and a rise in stocks, while imports and a decline in spending on buildings and structures detracted from GDP growth.

In seasonally adjusted terms, exports of goods and services were flat in the quarter.

Treasurer Peter Costello said the overall result for the 12 months ending June 30 _ an average growth rate of 4.5 percent _ was above the government’s forecasts despite the latest slowdown.

``We have been predicting a slowdown which is consistent with these numbers,″ Costello said Wednesday.

Costello said domestic demand was set to continue, underpinning strong job growth, high productivity, healthy corporate profitability, historically low interest rates and low inflation outcomes.

The treasurer said the data also confirmed that inflation was low and that tax reforms to begin in July 1, 2000, would further boost growth.

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