Australia’s economy maintained its forward momentum in the first quarter, as rebounding consumer spending and a solid housing sector outweighed weak business investment.

 

According to ANZ, growth accelerated 0.8% on the quarter, with much of the growth driven by net exports due to an uptick in commodity shipments. ANZ says net exports added 1.1 percentage points to quarterly expansion.

 

Wage appreciation remains modest given softer employment growth. Australia’s labour market added 10,800 new jobs in April, but the gains were in part-time work and the unemployment rate held steady at 5.7%.

 

The country’s inflation rate fell to 1.3% in March, the lowest in seven years, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported. Soon after, the RBA reduced interest rates to a new all-time low of 1.75%.

 

The RBA is prepared to lower rates even further in the coming months should inflation not rebound back toward the central bank’s target of between 2% and 3%.