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Australian growth slows as mining drifts

SYDNEY -- Australia's mining-powered economy grew a solid 0.6 percent in the three months to June and 3.7 percent from a year earlier, data showed Wednesday, but was weighed by China's slowdown and European woes.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figure was less than half the upwardly revised 1.4 percent in the first quarter of 2012 and below analyst predictions of 0.8 percent.

Year-on-year growth slowed from 4.3 percent in the March quarter to 3.7 percent for the 12 months to June 30, the ABS said, in line with market forecasts.

Treasurer Wayne Swan talked up the “robust” figures as proof of Australia's relative strength among developed nations “in the face of significant international headwinds.”

“While global economic conditions are likely to remain difficult for some time to come, today's national accounts demonstrate again our economic resilience,” Swan said.

“The Australian economy grew faster than every single major advanced economy both in the June quarter and over the year to June, and has successfully completed a stunning 21 consecutive years of economic growth — a feat not matched by any other advanced economy over this period.”

Consumer spending was the main driver of quarterly growth, contributing 0.6 percentage points to gross domestic product, with net exports — the value of shipments minus imports — adding 0.3 percentage points.

The Australian dollar was little moved by the data, falling to US$1.0207 from US$1.0210 prior to its release.

Though exports were robust the ABS said the terms of trade — the value of the country's exports relative to its imports — fell 0.6 percent, reflecting a fall in the bullish Australian dollar and slump in commodity prices as Chinese growth slowed and Europe grappled with sovereign debt issues.

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