Australia's economy squeezed out just enough growth last quarter to match the Netherlands' record of 103 quarters without recession. But as Graham Mackay reports, its stamina is in doubt as households struggle with paltry wage rises and punishing debt.
103 quarters of straight economic growth. Australia on Wednesday matching The Netherlands' record of almost 26 uninterrupted years of without a recession. Proving that even cyclone Debbie wasn't enough to derail a positive GDP run dating back to 1991. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GLOBAL FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, PETER DIXON, SAYING: "It benefited of course during the worst of the financial crisis from its continued exposure to the commodity sector given its proximity to Asia as well. That is also acted as a locomotive to help the economy along so I guess favourable demographics and regional exposure have been two of the key factors which help Australia." Australia is also a powerhouse when it comes to resources - and one monster economy has been making the most of them: China. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WAYNE COLE, REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, SAYING: "How lucky is it that you're a giant country with very few people, but huge amounts of resources, and just across the ocean from you is a country that is undergoing the biggest economic revolution ever seen in the history of the world." But despite the impressive stretch, Australia's latest GDP reading is up just three tenths of a percent... A sign that the economic wheels could eventually come off. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GLOBAL FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, PETER DIXON, SAYING: "The property sector is extremely. How do you leverage shall we say. And if there are indications that we could see a turnaround in that sector of the economy that could ripple through to have wider economic implications as we've seen in another other Anglo Saxon type economies. So whilst Australia looks set fair for the moment I think there are clearly risks on the horizon which investors will have to take account of."