STRONG international trade should help the national economy improve despite “disappointing” growth figures released this week, the Australian Chamber says.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics National Accounts data released this week showed annualised GDP growth slowed further to 1.4% in the year to June 2019, down from 1.8% in the year to March 2019 and 2.3% in the year to December 2018.

ACCI chief executive James Pearson said international trade offered cause for optimism.

“On the plus side, the importance of international trade was apparent in the current account figures released by the ABS yesterday,” Mr Pearson said.

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“This data showed Australia achieved a current account surplus of $5.9bn in the June quarter 2019, the first surplus since June 1975,” he said.

“The trade in goods and services component of this achieving a record surplus of $19.9bn. This reinforces the importance of Australia being an open, trade economy.”

Mr Pearson said weaker growth in the June quarter was in line with expectations given the uncertainty in the lead up to the election in mid-May and weak housing demand.

He said businesses needed policies to lift productive capacity through investing in skills, technology and infrastructure, lowering energy costs, and cutting red tape, including in workplace relations.

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