SYDNEY, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Australia's lacklustre national accounts data for the three months to September has underwhelmed economists on Wednesday, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures coming in well under market expectations.
Predicting an uptick of around 0.6 percent, the seasonally adjusted third quarter reading showed Australia's economy grew by just 0.3 percent, the weakest quarterly expansion in two years down under.
"The economy lost momentum moving in to the second half of 2018, centered on housing and the consumer against the backdrop of a further tightening of lending standards to the housing sector," Westpac Bank economists Bill Evans and Andrew Hanlan said in a joint note to investors.
"Consumer spending came in below expectations with annual growth slowing to 2.5 percent."
To make matters worse, it now appears the Reserve Bank of Australia's forecast GDP growth target of 3.5 percent in 2018, looks to be in doubt.
"With the first three quarters of the year totalling 2.2 percent the December quarter would have to print growth of 1.3 percent, a highly unlikely event," Evans and Hanlan said.
As a result, Australia's record low interest rate of 1.5 percent that has remained unmoved since August 2016, will likely stay in place until the end of 2020, according to Westpac.