Resource-rich Australia has reached a 25-year streak without recession

Indeed, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that Nigeria's economy will grow by 0.8 percent in 2017.

Also, analysts at Financial Derivatives Company Limited noted that the Q4 2016 GDP numbers "were better than expected at -1.3 per cent", adding that "the growth numbers though historical, help to put the recession and recovery path in context".

Economists say a surge in commodity prices over the past six to nine months is feeding through to the economy and setting the foundations for stronger growth in national income.

"Strongest growth was observed in Mining, Agriculture, forestry and fishing, and Professional scientific and technical services, each industry contributed 0.2 percentage points to GDP growth", the ABS said.

A repeat of the third quarter GDP contraction would have sunk Australia into its first recession in 25 years.

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Despite subdued wages growth, household spending was also a key driver as consumers opened their wallets, contributing 0.5 percentage points, while public investment in things such as infrastructure added 0.3 percentage points. While the regulator removed a currency peg in June, it continues to block importers of items it deems non-essential from the official foreign-exchange market, forcing them to buy dollars on the black market, where the currency is about 30 percent more expensive. Australia's terms of trade rose by 9.1% over the quarter, accelerating a trend that has been in place since mid-2016.

"It is higher than its share of 24.18 per cent in the corresponding quarter of 2015, but less than 28.65 per cent share recorded in the previous quarter due to its highly seasonal nature".

"Nevertheless, the overall outcome for the year was that the agricultural sector grew by 4.11% for the whole of 2016 which was higher than the figure of 3.72% for 2015", he said. And real net national disposable income (remember the "income recession"?) increased by 2.9% for the quarter.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said growth over the year to December was 2.4% - much better than some forecasts at around 1.9% to 2.1%. Third-quarter GDP wasn't revised from an intially reported fall of 0.5%.

  • Adam Floyd