RTTNews - Malaysia's leading index, a measure of economic performance in the next few months, rose 0.5% month-on-month in March to 159 points, the Department of Statistics said Friday. The six-month smoothed growth rate stood at 0.2% in March versus minus 0.7% in February.

However, the coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, fell 1.4% on a monthly basis to 112.5 points in March. The six-month smoothed growth rate was minus 10% in March compared to minus 8.6% in the preceding month.

The statistical office said the six-month smoothed growth rate of Leading Index has gradually improved since January this year, after recording the lowest rate in December last year.

If the growth momentum of the leading index persists, the economic slowdown is expected to turn around in the third quarter of 2009, the report added.

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