'Down Under' Heads Upward

By John S. McClenahen Toss another shrimp on the Barbie to mark another monthly increase for the index of leading economic indicators for Australia. The index increased 0.3% this past March, the latest month for which data are available, and has now grown at about a 5.5% annual rate since mid-2003, reports the Conference Board, a New York-based business research group. The leading index for Australia now stands at 153.1 (1990=100). "The continued strength in the leading index suggests that relatively strong economic growth is likely to persist in the near term," says the Conference Board.

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