Australian economic growth rate slows

Sydney harbour
Image caption Australia's economy has avoided recession for 19 straight years

Australia's rate of economic growth slowed between July and September as the high value of the Australian dollar ate into export earnings.

The country's gross domestic product (GDP) rose just 0.2% during the third quarter period, down from growth of 1.1% between April and June.

Analysts said Australian consumers were also hit by higher interest rates.

However, the Australian economy is set to continue to grow, led by demand from China for its raw materials.

Michael Blythe, chief economist at the Commonwealth Bank, said the latest economic growth figure was a "disappointing outcome".

He added: "We're still churning out what's a decent rate of growth but it's not as solid as it had looked."

Helped by its vast exports of iron ore and other raw materials, Australia has avoided recession for 19 years.

One of the country's largest iron ore producers, Anglo-Australian group Rio Tinto, announced on Wednesday $1.2bn (£770m) of additional investment in its iron ore operations in Western Australia.

Rio, which is increasing production, has announced $7.2bn in new investment in the region since July.

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