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Australia Westpac-MI Leading Index Points To Loss Of Growth Momentum

A leading indicator of economic activity in Australia signaled sharp loss of growth momentum in the second half of this year, a report from Westpac Bank and Melbourne Institute showed Wednesday.

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute leading index, which indicates the likely pace of economic activity three to nine months into the future, was 0.2 percent in April, well below its long term trend of 2.6 percent.

"The Leading Index is pointing to a sharp slowdown over the second half of this year," Westpac Senior Economist Matthew Hassan said.

The annualised growth rate of the coincident index, which gives a pulse of current activity, was 4.3 percent, well above its long term trend of 3.1 percent.

Another leading indicator for Australian economy compiled by the Conference Board declined 1.4 percent in April, primarily due to a large decline in building approvals.

The Board said that the weakness among the leading indicators was "somewhat more widespread than the strengths in recent months."

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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