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Australia’s Westpac Leading Index Advanced 0.2% in February

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April 18 (Bloomberg) -- An Australian index of leading economic indicators advanced in February as gains in stocks and money supply outweighed a decline in dwelling approvals.

The index, a gauge of future economic growth, rose 0.2 percent from a month earlier to 284.2, Westpac Banking Corp. and the Melbourne Institute said in a statement in Sydney today.

Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens signaled this month he may end a three-month pause in interest-rate cuts as soon as next month if weaker-than-forecast growth slows inflation. The central bank lowered borrowing costs in November and December, to 4.25 percent, to buttress the housing market, support jobs and boost confidence among consumers who are saving more.

Westpac’s leading index tracks eight gauges of activity, including company profits and productivity, to give an indication of how the economy will perform over the next three to nine months. The coincident index, a measure of the current state of the economy, rose 0.1 percent in February to 271.9, the bank said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Heath in Sydney at mheath1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Phang at sphang@bloomberg.net

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