The Reserve Bank of Australia believes the worst of the recession is over. Picture: Lukas Coch/AAP
The Reserve Bank of Australia believes the worst of the recession is over. Picture: Lukas Coch/AAP

RBA: We believe recession is over

The Reserve Bank of Australia says its "best guess" is Australia's economy will grow in the September quarter, ending the recession.

At senate estimates on Tuesday, RBA deputy governor Guy Debelle said Victoria's 12-week lockdown would not hinder the nation's recovery from its first economic recession in over three decades.

"Our best guess is it looks like the September quarter for the country recorded positive growth rather than slightly negative," Dr Debelle said.

"As best as we can tell, the growth elsewhere in the country was more than the drag from Victoria, and possibly the drag from Victoria was a little less than what we guessed back in August."

The RBA is expecting gross domestic product (GDP) for the September quarter will track positive, following its steep fall in the previous quarter by 7 per cent.

A technical recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.

Reserve Bank deputy governor Guy Debelle. Picture: Morgan Sette/AAP
Reserve Bank deputy governor Guy Debelle. Picture: Morgan Sette/AAP

Dr Debelle said government spending would need to continue until unemployment levels were "comfortably" below 6 per cent, noting a premature tapering of economic aid would hinder recovery efforts.

The RBA is expected to reveal at its board meeting next Tuesday if it will further cut interest rates to alleviate pressures facing the economy.

A number of economists believe the central bank will slash the cash rate to 0.1 per cent and implement further quantitative easing measures to help lift the economy.

When questioned by Labor senator Katy Gallagher on the pandemic's negative impact on wage growth, Dr Debelle said getting people back into the labour market should be more of a priority than if wages were expected to rise in the near future.

"The main objective is to get people back into employment," Dr Debelle said.

The central bank said regions such as Far North Queensland, which are heavily reliant on overseas tourism, will likely struggle while international borders remain closed.

Dr Debelle said services sectors such as entertainment would continue to be affected by the pandemic, while construction and industrial sectors were experiencing increased demand.

The RBA is expected to release new economic forecasts next Friday in its quarterly statement on monetary policy.


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