SYDNEY, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Australian business inventories fell 3% in the second-quarter driven by panic buying because of coronavirus-driven lockdowns, while wages slipped amid massive job losses as the country finds itself in its first recession in three decades.
In a surprising outcome, second-quarter gross company profits jumped 15%, confounding expectations for a 7.5% decline, largely helped by government subsidies, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed on Monday.
Australia is facing its deepest contraction in a century as the coronavirus pandemic shuttered entire sectors of the economy between mid-March and end-May resulting in hefty job losses.
A median of 17 economists polled by Reuters last week predicted second-quarter gross domestic product, due on Wednesday, would shrink 6% from the March quarter when growth contracted by 0.3%.
(Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)
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