Bloomberg News

Australia’s Westpac Leading Index Advanced 0.4% in March

May 22, 2012

An Australian index of leading economic indicators advanced in March as gains in stocks and dwelling approvals offset weakness in materials prices and overtime.

The index, a gauge of future economic growth, rose 0.4 percent from a month earlier to 284.6, Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC) and the Melbourne Institute said in a statement in Sydney today.

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens this month reduced the overnight cash-rate target to 3.75 percent from 4.25 percent, the deepest reduction in three years, a decision forecast by two of 29 economists. The nation’s house prices declined in the three months through March in the longest losing streak in at least a decade. Stevens aims to buttress the housing market, support jobs and boost confidence.

Westpac’s leading index tracks eight gauges of activity, including company profits and productivity, to give an indication of how the economy will perform over the next three to nine months. The coincident index, a measure of the current state of the economy, rose 0.5 percent in March to 273.7, the bank said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Heath in Sydney at mheath1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Phang at sphang@bloomberg.net


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