This paper investigates the forecasting performance of the diffusion index approach for the Australian economy, and considers the forecasting performance of the diffusion index approach relative to composite forecasts. Weighted and unweighted factor forecasts are benchmarked against composite forecasts, and forecasts derived from individual forecasting models. The results suggest that diffusion index forecasts tend to improve on the benchmark AR forecasts. We also observe that weighted factors tend to produce better forecasts than their unweighted counterparts. We find, however, that the size of the forecasting improvement is less marked than previous research, with the diffusion index forecasts typically producing mean square errors of a similar magnitude to the VAR and BVAR approaches. Copyright 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/University of Adelaide and Flinders University.