Barely changed. Optimists NOT in the ascendency.

Comment via WPAC from their report (bolding mine):

  • The six-month annualised 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, fell from +0.5% in August to -0.5% in September.
  • This is the first negative read - signalling below trend growth - since September last year when the economy was moving out of COVID lockdowns. In the following months of October, November, and December the Index surged to 4.5%, 5.0% and 5.2% respectively, signalling a strong recovery."

As Australia's two largest population states (around 50% of the country's population) emerge from lockdowns (begun already) this indicator will turn around.

Indeed, as WPAC adds:

  • As we saw in 2020, the Leading Index is likely to recover quite quickly as Sydney and Melbourne reopen, consistent with that strong outlook for the first half of 2022.