(Corrects to remove extraneous word in paragraph 3)
* Australia's economy expands 3.3% in Q3
* Trade dispute with China "very serious" matter - Treasurer
* Miners and gold stocks keep ASX afloat
Dec 2 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended little changed on
Wednesday as optimism over a quarterly economic recovery was
tempered by cautious comments from the central bank, while
escalating trade tensions with China also dented investor
The country's economy expanded by a bigger than expected
3.3% in the September quarter, following a coronavirus-induced
contraction in June, though the central bank governor signalled
monetary policy will stay accommodative for a while.
There is still a high degree of uncertainty about the
outlook, said Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe, adding that the
economic recovery is underway, but will be "uneven and bumpy".
Mining sub-index and gold stocks helped the
S&P/ASX 200 index close 0.03% higher at 6,590.2 points,
reversing course after trading in the red throughout the
BHP Group and Rio Tinto climbed as much as
2.2% and 1.9%, respectively, as Dalian iron ore hit a record
"While the bounce is impressive, it still leaves the economy
4.2% smaller than it was prior to the pandemic and 3.9% smaller
than a year ago... it will be some time before we can be
confident that the economy is out of the woods," Felicity
Emmett, senior economist at ANZ, wrote in a note.
However, the deteriorating trade relationship with China was
a "very serious" matter, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg
China has imposed dumping tariffs of up to 200% on
Australian wine imports, and curtailed exports of lobsters,
beef, timber, and coal from Down Under.
"We're seeing some of the initial phases of the start of a
protracted trade war with China with Australia, which is very
concerning," said Brad Smoling, managing director at Smoling
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended flat
at 12,728.69 points as gains in utilities and industrial stocks
were offset by losses in the healthcare and consumer sectors.
(Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan