Australia's Leading Indicators Are Down

The Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators for Australia fell one-tenth of a percentage point in March, the most recent month for which data are available. The index now stands at 155.3 (1990=100).

In contrast to March's decline, the index increased three-tenths percent in February and on-e-tenth in January. For the six months through March, the leading index increase nine-tenths of a percentage point.

"Despite the small decline in March, the growth rate of the leading index has continued to fluctuate around a 1.5% to 2.5% annual rate, up from the 0% to 1% in the third quarter of 2004, but still below the 5% to 6% [rate] reached in the first half of 2004," notes the Conference Board. "The current behavior of the leading index suggests that economic growth should pick up slightly from the very sluggish pace in the second half of 2004, but not to the rapid growth rate of late 2003."

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