The pundits in the financial institutions had talked themselves into believing that a second quarter of what economists quaintly call negative growth was inevitable and thus this week's national accounts would produce the conditions of what some would call a technical recession. In the newspapers the economics writers for weeks have been telling us that that technical definition does not matter - Australia was in recession and that was that. Messrs Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan were uttering the recession word as if trying to soften us up for the impending horror headline.
Then along this morning comes the Australian Bureau of Statistics with its balance of payments numbers and calmly states that a "decrease of $5,964m in the deficit on goods and services in seasonally adjusted volume terms is expected to add 2.2 percentage points to growth in the March quarter 2009 volume measure of GDP, assuming no significant revision to the GDP chain volume estimate for the December quarter 2008."
That was so much a better performance than the forecasters had forecast that they went scurrying back to their abacuses to revise their growth expectations. Perhaps there would be no technical recession after all. Well we will all find out tomorrow when the National Accounts are released.