(Bloomberg) -- Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers isn’t ruling out the economy contracted in the final three months of 2023, warning its performance was probably quite weak due to elevated inflation and interest-rate increases.

Speaking to Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio on Thursday, Chalmers didn’t exclude that gross domestic product dropped last quarter, saying “it remains to be seen” in response to a direct question. GDP data will be released on Wednesday and a decline would be the first since the third quarter of 2021.

Earlier, in an address to the Group of 20 Finance Ministers’ meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the treasurer told his global counterparts that a soft landing at home and abroad was “assumed but not assured” and highlighted the risks.

“We expect growth in next week’s December National Accounts to be quite weak – the inevitable consequence of global uncertainty, higher interest rates, and cost of living pressures,” Chalmers said.

Economists predict GDP rose 0.2% in the fourth quarter, unchanged from the prior three months. The Reserve Bank of Australia raised its cash rate by a quarter percentage point to a 12-year high of 4.35% in November.

A weak result would be in line with RBA expectations as it tries to cool demand to restrain consumer price gains. Monthly inflation data released Wednesday held at 3.4%, down from a peak of 8.4% in December 2022, suggesting rate hikes are gaining traction.

Responding to the ABC’s question on whether the economy may have contracted in the fourth quarter, Chalmers said next week’s data will tell the story. 

“I’ve tried to be up front with your listeners but also in these engagements here and at home to say that we understand that the inevitable consequence of higher interest rates and system inflation and global uncertainty means that we are expecting quite weak growth in our economy.”

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