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australia economy

Australia stock market traded low on May 2 with the benchmark S&P ASX 200 finishing lower by 0.18% at 5,243 points.

Shares in Australia’s third largest lender, Westpac, closed down 3.54% on the Sydney stock market, after having lost as much as 5.7% earlier in the session.

Westpac reported a 3% rise in profits for the six months to March 2016.Australia Stock Exchange 2016

Earnings rose to A$3.9 billion ($2.96 billion), however industry analysts were expecting the figure to come in just above A$4 billion.

Westpac has attributed the shortfall to higher debt charges.

Also in Australia, the country’s Treasurer Scott Morrison will deliver the federal budget for 2016-2017 on May 3. According to local media, there will be tax cuts for business in the budget.

However, ahead of the budget, the country’s central bank – The Reserve Bank of Australia – will hold its annual meeting on interest rates.

The key lending rate in Australia is at a record low of 2%.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistic, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew less than expected in Q2 2015 as the economy struggled to gain momentum.

The Australian economy expanded 0.2% from the previous quarter and was up 2% compared with the same period last year.

Quarterly growth of 0.4% had been widely expected, while the annual rate was forecast to be up 2.2%.

Growth was hit by a “significant” decline in mining and construction activity as exports also fell.

Mining production fell 3% in Q2 2015 as demand slowed from China, Australia’s biggest trading partner.Australia slowdown 2015

The economy had grown a strong 0.9% in Q1 2015, its fastest pace in four quarters.

The data comes a day after the Reserve Bank of Australia kept interest rates on hold at a record low of 2%.

The central bank expects growth of 2.25% this year, but some economists said those forecasts could be too optimistic and that rate cuts could be back on the agenda.

In reaction to the data, the Australian dollar fell to a six-and-a-half year low of $0.6986 against the US dollar, down 0.4% for the day.

It had not fallen below $0.70 since 2009.

However, a lower currency is helping to boost the economy as it tries to move on from its mining-led growth.

Household spending supported growth in the period, rising by 0.5%.

Australian shares were also down with the S&P/ASX 200 index lower by 1.1% to 5,038.80 after the data came out.