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Australia Westpac Leading Index Signals Record Rebound In Growth

Australia's leading index signaled above trend growth in both the September and December quarters, Westpac said Wednesday.

The six-month annualized growth rate in the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Index, which indicates the likely pace of economic activity relative to trend three to nine months into the future, rose to +3.25 percent in October from -0.47 percent in September.

This was the first positive, above trend, growth rate since November 2018 and also the strongest seen since the early 1980s.

However, Westpac said the momentum will slow in 2021 as the sharp initial improvement in activity due to the easing of domestic restrictions ends.

Notably, recent reports indicating earlier than expected progress around vaccines suggest these could provide a significant and welcome boost that offsets the expected 'soft patch' in the June/September quarters of 2021.

Bill Evans, chief economist at Westpac said the Reserve Bank Board will be focused on assessing the impact on the economy of their quantitative easing program over the course of the first half of 2021.

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