Australian economy expanded 3.1 per cent in 4Q, helped by mining and low interest rates

SYDNEY – Australia’s economy expanded 3.1 per cent in the final quarter of last year as a mining boom and interest rate cuts spurred investment and spending.

The country’s statistics agency said mining was the biggest contributor to growth followed by the health care and financial services industries.

Australia is one of the few advanced economies to have emerged from the global financial and economic crisis relatively unscathed.

It avoided recession after the government pumped up spending and demand from China boosted its mineral exports such as coal and iron ore.

Consumer spending has been underpinned by interest rates at record lows.

The agency said the economy grew 0.6 per cent in October-December quarter from the previous quarter.