Sydney: Australia is facing a period of slow economic growth likely to stretch into next year, according to a report released on Wednesday.
The Westpac-Melbourne Institute leading index of economic activity fell in August, taking it further below its trend growth rate, Xinhua quoted Westpac's chief economist Bill Evans as saying, suggesting the economy was losing momentum.
The latest results were a marked change from the first four months of the year, when the index was pointing to above-trend economic growth.
"Today's print points to a likely below trend start to next year," Evans said in a statement.
An important reason for the sharp slowdown in economic growth rate implied by the index was the recent sell-off in the share market.
Despite the bleak signals from the index, Evans said there was little chance that the Reserve Bank of Australia might cut interest rates at its next policy meeting on October 6 to stimulate the economy.