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Australia clocks 0.6% quarterly growth

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Australia's mining-powered economy grew 0.6 percent in the three months to December and 3.1 percent from a year earlier, data showed Wednesday, as the resources sector and consumer spending rallied.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said the expansion in gross domestic product followed an upwardly-revised 0.7 percent uptick in the September quarter.

The mining, manufacturing, health and finance sectors were the main drivers of growth, each contributing 0.1 percent to the increase in GDP, the bureau said.

The plunge in Australia's terms of trade -- the value of its exports against its imports -- slowed to 2.7 percent from 5.3 percent in the previous quarter, suggesting conditions were improving in the key mining sector.

A slump in commodity prices linked to China's slowdown has weighed on Australia's trade balance, seeing it dive 12.9 percent in the past 12 months.

Consumer spending increased 0.3 percent on-quarter, suggesting a string of rate cuts by the central bank to an historic 3.0 percent low is beginning to take stimulatory effect.

The Australian dollar nudged up slightly to US$1.0275 from US$1.0266 prior to the data, while the stock market also pushed higher.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130305/australia-clocks-06-quarterly-growth