It's official: Australia has entered a recession for the first time in 29 years.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg declared today he did not need to wait until the June quarter to admit the obvious.
Asked: "Is Australia in recession today?" Frydengberg said the answer was clear.
"Well, the answer to that is yes. And that is on the basis of the advice that I have from the Treasury Department about where the June quarter is expected to be," he said.
Panic buying by families as the coronavirus pandemic hit failed to save Australia from a technical recession.
Some economists had speculated that last minute buying might save the economy from going backwards in the March quarter that only includes a few weeks of business shutdowns.
Instead, the Australian economy shrunk by 0.3 per cent over the first three months of the year according to today's national accounts.
That's the first quarterly contraction since 2011, when cyclone activity shut down businesses in Queensland and Western Australia.
National accounts figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics also showed annual GDP growth slowed from 2.2 per cent to 1.4 per cent.
The definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of the negative growth, a requirement that is certain to be met in the June quarter which will include the economy wide shutdowns ordered to save lives and protect the community from Covid-19.
Frydenberg said Australia's performance was outstanding considering the nation was facing an economic Armageddon.
"Less than 100 days ago, our nation was on the edge of an economic cliff," he said.
"The number of coronavirus cases was increasing by more than 20 per cent per day. Treasury were contemplating a fall in GDP of more than 20 per cent in the June quarter. This was the economists' version of Armageddon."
"To illustrate how bad we thought it could get, we purchased 5500 ventilators. But today, there is just one person in an Australian hospital on a ventilator as a result of the coronavirus."
Frydenberg said the dramatic falls in spending in the March quarter were some of the largest on record in decades.
"While fear of a lockdown saw panic-buying of food and household items, total consumption still fell by 1.1 per cent in the quarter," he said.
"This is the largest quarterly decline in consumption in 34 years. Spending on transport services and hotels, cafes and restaurants experienced their largest falls on record."