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Released: Monday, December 15, 2003

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for the U.K. increased 0.1 percent, and the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in October.

  • The leading index increased again in October, and has been on a gradual rising trend from the most recent low in March (a 2.5 percent annual rate). The strength in the leading index has become more widespread in recent months. The coincident index also increased again in October, and has been rising moderately since the beginning of the year.
  • Real GDP growth has picked up to almost a 3.0 percent annual rate in the last two quarters. The recent growth of the leading index is consistent with this average or moderate rate of economic growth continuing in the near term.

Leading Indicators. Five of the nine components that make up the leading index increased in October. The positive contributors – from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – were consumer confidence, stock prices, productivity for the whole economy*, new orders for engineering industries*, and operating surplus of corporations*. Order book volume and fixed interest price index declined in October, while volume of expected output was unchanged.

With the 0.1 percent increase in October, the leading index now stands at 128.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in September and increased 0.3 percent in August. During the six-month span through October, the leading index increased 1.0 percent with six of the nine components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 62.5 percent).

Coincident Indicators. All four components that make up the coincident index increased in October. Employment* was the largest positive contributor, followed by industrial production, real household disposable income*, and retail sales.

With the 0.2 percent increase in October, the coincident index now stands at 113.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in September and increased 0.1 percent in August. During the six-month period through October, the coincident index increased 0.8 percent, with all four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100 percent).

Data Availability.The data series used by The Conference Board to compute the two composite indexes reported in the tables in this release are those available “as of” 10 A.M. ET on December 11, 2003. Some series are estimated as noted below.

Series in the leading index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are new orders in engineering industries, productivity of the whole economy, and operating surplus of corporations. Series in the coincident index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are employment and real household disposable income.

THESE DATA ARE FOR ANALYSIS PURPOSES ONLY. NOT FOR REDISTRIBUTION, PUBLISHING, DATABASING, OR PUBLIC POSTING WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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