Australia's company gross operating profits rose 1.7 percent in the December quarter 2013, figures released on Monday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show. The December quarter result was nearly in line with market forecasts for a two percent rise. Economists say the profits data show mining and resources sector is still playing a big role in driving economic growth in the country and the Australian economy is expected to pick up pace over the next six to nine months. "When you look at the profits data it is still quite reliant on the resource sector," global banking firm JP Morgan economist Tom Kennedy told the Australian Associated Press (AAP). "The rebalancing of growth to the other sectors is still playing out very slowly and we're not quite there yet."