Australia is heading for its first recession in almost three decades after the economy shrunk in the January-March quarter, with a "far more severe" reading expected in the next three months as the effects of the virus shutdown bite.
Data released on Wednesday for the March quarter show a 0.3% contraction since the three months through December due to destructive wildfires and the early stages of the coronavirus lockdown.
Australia's economy has been growing since mid-1991 with an occasional negative quarter including during the global financial crisis in 2008, when Chinese demand for iron ore and coal quickly reversed the decline.
Concomitantly, analysts had also added that a prolonged drought alongside a pandemic outbreak that led to a virtual shut-down of the entire economy had also spurred up the contraction adding the second quarter of the year would likely to bear the heaviest brunt.
Despite the recession, Frydenberg said Australia "has avoided the fate of the economy and the fate of health" from other countries because of the actions it has taken, including economic stimulus efforts.
"This is the largest quarterly decline in consumption in 34 years".
"Seen in this context, the fact that the Australian economy only contracted by 0.3 per cent shows the Australian economy's remarkable resilience", he said. "This was the economists' version of Armageddon", he told reporters at Parliament House via ABC.
Compared with the same period a year ago, Australia's gross domestic product expanded by 1.4 percent, but that was the slowest expansion since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.
"Although the immediate outlook is better than anticipated a couple of months ago, the economy still faces challenges", said Sarah Hunter, Chief Economist for BIS Oxford Economics.
Authorities ordered numerous businesses shut and closed the country's global borders to stem the spread of COVID-19, costing the economy billions of dollars but achieving success in containing the virus.
Frydenberg said the Government would provide an update on both the economy and stimulus programs in July this year.
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