GDP falls but Queensland stays positive.

Today saw the release of the GDP data for the third quarter. After some weak data from net exports the markets had been expecting a figure around a 0.1/0.2% decline. The result came in worse than expected at -0.5% q/q for an annual increase over the year of +2.5% or a year on year increase of just 1.8%.

Whilst the result came in weaker than expected we should note that the second quarter (which had been rather higher then expected) was actually revised slightly higher (+0.6% q/q after an initial plot of +0.5% q/q).

Aside from net exports, which deducted 0.3ppts from growth, the other big negative was Public Capital Formation which deducted another 0.5ppts (last quarter this sector added 0.7ppts to the stronger growth so this quarter is something of a payback from last quarter). Household Consumption (the main component of GDP) was up just 0.4% q/q and contributed just 0.3 ppts to growth (a small improvement on the 0.2ppts result from last quarter) .

This is the first quarter of negative GDP since the first quarter of 2011. The country has still not seen a recession (2 quarters of negative growth) in over 25 years and there is no sign that we will see another negative next quarter given data (such as retail sales and terms of trade) already seen for Oct.

The weaker GDP plot certainly reopens the possibility of a further cut from the RBA in coming months although our feeling remains that is not needed.

As we know, the story in Queensland has been somewhat different. On a quarterly basis the ABS only produce State Final Demand data for the states (which does not account for net exports) and as such tends to understate the picture for an exporting state like Queensland. Queensland Treasury do produce quarterly Gross State Product data (which includes net exports) but the data for the Sept quarter will no be available from them until later this month.

The ABS provide Gross State Product data for the states on an annual basis for the financial year and this showed Queensland growing at just 2.0% (see our FNQ Economic Roundup later for more details). State Final Demand rose 0.1% q/q after the strong +0.7% q/q from the previous quarter. As a result Queensland State Final Demand was up 1.2% y/y (up from 0.6% y/y last quarter) which is the best result for the state since the final quarter 2013. This is now two consecutive quarters of positive y/y growth breaking a string of seven negative quarters; and it’s the fourth consecutive quarter of positive q/q growth.

When we consider the components of State Final Demand we see that both the Private and Public sectors have grown. Household consumption is up 2.4% for the year while private capital formation has fallen by 3.0% (dwellings investment +10.1%, non-dwelling –15%) for a net increase of just 0.9% y/y.

Government expenditure increased by 3.4% while public capital formation fell 2.5% for a net increase for the public sector of 2.2%.
What we are seeing is the Queensland economy growing, but that growth is largely on the back of relatively strong Government Expenditure. Investment in the private sector continues to be a drag despite strong dwelling construction investment.

There can be little debate that the Queensland economy is starting to recover. Once we see the Treasury quarterly data for Gross State Product (which will include the strong exports data) we are expecting to see further evidence of the recovery.


  1. Glen says:

    December 7th, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Most economists have been very negative on the Qld performance with many singling out Qld for mention, as well as the treasurer, in particular the fact that despite a perceived diversification of the Qld economy the numbers don’t reflect that and the Qld economy is still a one trick pony that still revolves around mining and resources. From the excitement around the Adani announcement in Townsville this week it would appear they are right.

  2. Pete Faulkner says:

    December 8th, 2016 at 4:12 am

    Thanks for the comment Glen. I think it’s probably safe to say that there is a certain political angle to a Liberal Federal Treasurer having a dig at an ALP state government…and vice versa! Having said that there is clearly an element of truth in the fact that the QLD economy continues to be relying heavily on resources, and in particular nowadays resources exports. The fact that private sector investment is still struggling to take up the slack left by the end of the mining investment boom is concerning, and doubly so given that what growth there is is coming solely from housing investment.
    Given the current situation and sentiment in Townsville I suspect that level of excitement would have been generated by almost anything!
    Cheers, Pete

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