Hawker Britton Occasional Papers and Media

Australian National Accounts– December Quarter 2008

December 2008

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On 4 March 2009 the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the National Accounts and Balance of Payments for the December 2008 Quarter.   National accounts are designed to provide a summary of national economic activity and to present a statistical picture of the structure of the economy and the detailed processes that make up domestic production and its distribution. The financial accounts show the financial assets and liabilities of the nation and of each institutional sector, the market for financial instruments and inter-sectoral financial transactions. The balance sheet is a comprehensive statement of produced and non-produced assets, liabilities to the rest of the world and net worth. Input-output tables show which goods and services are produced by each industry and how they are used.

The much anticipated figures released yesterday show the extent of the impact of the global financial crisis on Australia’s economy. 

Percentage changes, Volume measures
Graph: Percentage changes, Volume measures



Selected Industries Contribution to growth, Dec 07 to Dec 08: Trend
Selected Industries Contribution to growth, Dec 07 to Dec 08

Household saving ratio, Current prices
Graph: Household saving ratio, Current prices

Treasurer Wayne Swan noted that ‘…although the Australian economy has held up better than most other economies, the inevitable impact of the global recession is clearly evident in [the] data’. Many countries including the United States, the UK, Europe and Japan suffered much deeper contractions in GDP in the December quarter. Australia's GDP outcome is better than all of the G7 economies.  Also, 19 of the 22 OECD countries that have reported December quarter figures contracted during the quarter and this weakness continues to weigh heavily on household spending, investment and exports.

December Key Figures

  % change
Sep qtr 08 to
Dec qtr 08
% change
Dec qtr 07 to
Dec qtr 08
GDP (Chain volume measure)    
  Trend -0.1 0.6
  Seasonally adjusted -0.5 0.3
Final consumption expenditure (Chain volume measure)    
  Trend 0.1 1.2
Seasonally adjusted 0.1 1.0
Gross fixed capital formation (Chain volume measure)
Trend 0.7 7.0
Seasonally adjusted 0.1 6.7
GDP chain price index
Original 0.4 8.5
Terms of trade
Seasonally adjusted -2.8 16.5
Real net national disposable income
Trend 1.0 6.4
Seasonally adjusted -1.6 4.8

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, Dec 2008
Treasurer’s Media Release, National Accounts –December Quarter 2008
Treasurer’s Media Release, Balance of Payments –December Quarter 2008
The Australian article, Economy Grinds to a Halt 5 March 2009


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