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Financial News: Australia's Leading Index Signals Around Trend Growth: Wes

Australia's Leading Index Signals Around Trend Growth: Westpac

08/20/2019 - 23:27:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Australia's leading index moved above trend since November last year, signaling that the economy is set to grow around trend for the last three or four months of 2019 and well into the first half of next year, data from Westpac showed Wednesday.

The six month annualized growth rate in the Westpac- Melbourne Institute Leading Index that indicates likely pace of economic activity, rose to +0.05 percent in July from -0.09 percent in June.

An improving housing market, tax cuts and lower rates are likely to boost momentum in the second half of the year to around 2.5 percent annualized, Westpac noted.

Although that pace is a little below the current 'at trend' signal from the leading index, developments so far in August around the share market, commodity prices and the inversion of the yield curve point to a likely softer August reading for the index.

This would dent the current 'at trend' growth signal from the July report, Westpac said.

The leading index growth rate has improved over the last six months to +0.05 percent in July from -0.71 percent in February.

The main components driving the 0.76 percentage point turnaround were the S&P/ASX 200, dwelling approvals, and a stabilization in the yield spread with continued gains in commodity prices providing underlying support.

Bill Evans, Westpac chief economist expects the next interest rate cut at the October Reserve Bank Board meeting.

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