Data points to robust growth in 2013

The economy looks set for robust growth in 2013, although economists still expect another interest rate cut in the near future to bolster the non-mining parts of industry.

For a second month in a row, a leading index of economic activity has pointed to the strongest readings in the past year and above-trend growth in three to nine months.

The annualised growth of the Westpac-Melbourne Institute leading index released on Wednesday jumped to 4.1 per cent in September, from 2.9 per cent in August, to be well above its long-term trend of 2.8 per cent. It's a solid turnaround from the minus 0.4 per cent reading in April.

Westpac chief economist Bill Evans expects above-trend economic growth of 3.5 per cent in 2013 but is less optimistic about current growth, predicting a pace of only 2.5 per cent in the second half of 2012.

"Next year the economy will still be benefiting from a surge in mining investment, although our expectation is that the spending peak will be around year end or in early 2014," Mr Evans said in a statement.

He said a key reason behind the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) decision to cut interest rates over the past year was to stimulate non-mining sectors of the economy and complement the growth mix when the mining industry slows.

"There is scope to ease rates further to ensure support for non-mining sectors through 2013," Mr Evans said.

"Without further rate cuts growth is likely to struggle to exceed 2.5 per cent in 2014."

RBA governor Glenn Stevens said in a speech on Tuesday the bank's board felt "further easing might be required over time".

To the surprise of many economists, the RBA left its cash rate unchanged at 3.25 per cent at the last board meeting on November 6.

Mr Stevens also said a significant easing was already in place and its effects were still coming through.

"So it seemed prudent to sit still for the moment," he said.

Economists at ANZ said Mr Stevens' speech gave few clues about the actual timing of a further rate cut.

"It could easily be a small accumulation of data that tips the board from a no change to a further easing view," they said in a client note.

The RBA board next meets on December 4.

Other data released on Wednesday showed job advertisements on the internet recovered by 2.5 per cent in October.

The federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations internet vacancy index was still 14.1 per cent lower from a year ago.

Vacancies increased in seven of the eight occupational groups monitored by the department, and were concentrated in the nation's two most populous states - NSW and Victoria - rising by 6.9 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively in October.

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