'Virtually impossible' for Australian economy to grow
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Sunday it was "virtually impossible" for Australia's economy to grow in the current climate, all but conceding a recession is looming.
The economy shrank for the first time since 2001 in the final quarter of last year and a similar outcome in the first three months of 2009 would put Australia in recession -- defined as two straight quarters of negative growth.
Rudd said he did not see how Australia's economy could grow amid a global recession that "is getting worse before it gets better".
"It's clear that the impact of a worsening economic global recession will make it virtually impossible for Australia to sustain a positive economic growth for the period ahead," Rudd told Channel Nine television.
Australia enjoyed eight years of strong growth, largely due to a China-driven resource boom, but demand for Australian commodities has collapsed as waning demand means exporting countries need less raw materials.