Melbourne Institute nowcasts weak growth of 0.2 per cent in the Australian economy in the March quarter

The Melbourne Institute’s first nowcast for the March quarter is for quarterly growth of only 0.2 per cent, which corresponds to year-ended growth falling to a low 1.2 per cent.

Growth in domestic demand was slight in the December quarter, and this appears to have continued in 2024 to date. With households facing ongoing cost-of-living pressures, consumption growth is likely have remained subdued. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index fell in March.

While growth may be weak, the level of activity appears to be robust. The labour market surprisingly strengthened in February, with the unemployment rate dropping to a low 3.7 per cent. Given the magnitude of the fall some payback next month is possible. The Monthly NAB Business Survey also reported an above-average level of capacity utilisation in February.

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The Melbourne Institute Nowcast of Australian GDP for the March quarter was released at 11am (AEDT), Thursday 28 March 2024. The next Nowcast will be released at 11am (AEDT), Thursday 24 April 2024.

The Melbourne Institute Nowcast of Australian GDP uses monthly information regarding labour market conditions, housing and business lending, retail sales, housing approvals, consumer expectations, trade conditions and commodity prices to gauge current economic conditions.

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Dr Tim Robinson

03 8344 2325

  • Nowcast of Australian GDP & Dating the Business Cycle