ANZ’s Shayne Elliott tips gross domestic product growth to hit 4.8 per cent in 2021.
ANZ’s Shayne Elliott tips gross domestic product growth to hit 4.8 per cent in 2021.

ANZ boss upbeat on positive economic climate

ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott has heralded the economic climate as the most positive in at least six years given the resurgence out of the pandemic, as he tipped gross domestic product growth would hit 4.8 per cent in 2021.

Rounding out the last of the big four bank CEOs to front the Standing Committee on Economics in Canberra this week, Mr Elliott was upbeat on the nation's prospects for growth and employment.

"As we sit before you today, we are facing the most positive economic conditions that we have seen in the six years this committee has been inquiring into the major banks," he said in his opening statement.

"While many are doing it tough, including CBD businesses, Australia is emerging from one of its hardest periods quicker and stronger than many expected."

ANZ expects the economy to grow 4.8 per cent this year, after COVID-19 last year triggered the nation's first recession in almost 30 years. It also pointed to the record level of the number of employed people in March, and that the bank's job ad series is up 23 per cent on pre-pandemic levels at a 12-year high.

Official data this week showed national unemployment fell to 5.6 per cent in March, as the labour market eclipsed expectations again and notched its sixth consecutive month of jobs growth.

Mr Elliott did caution, though, that pockets of weakness remained, including uncertainty about the vaccine rollout schedule and regions impacted by international tourism and by recent floods and cyclones,

"The economy is in good shape and there is lots to be proud of... the reality is there is still some vulnerability there," he said.

Mr Elliott was referring to businesses impacted by the continued closure of international borders, such as hospitality accommodation and parts of retail.

Despite some challenges, he expects unemployment to continue to decline.

"Although some will sadly continue to suffer from the loss of work and income, we expect unemployment to fall to at least 5 per cent by the end of 2022," Mr Elliott said.

He also used his opening address to the committee to highlight the role banks had played during the pandemic to support businesses, lending to first home buyers and providing borrowers loan repayment deferrals.

"Capital levels are healthy, provisions have been moderate and liquidity is strong," Mr Elliott said.

"Because of this strength, we can lend prudently to help sustain the nation's recovery."

Originally published as ANZ boss upbeat on positive economic climate



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