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Released: Thursday, March 11, 2004

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for the U.K. increased 1.2 percent and the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in January.

  • The leading index increased significantly again in January, the sixth consecutive gain, with large contributions from the industrial sector. The leading index has now increased at a 4.7 percent annual rate from its most recent low in March 2003, and it has increased even more rapidly in recent months. The small increase in the coincident index in January keeps it on a moderately but steady rising trend.
  • Real GDP increased at a 3.6 percent average annual rate in the second half of 2003, up from 1.9 percent in the first half of the year, and this pick up is consistent with the upturn in the leading index since March. The continued widespread strength in the leading index suggests some further improvement in economic growth during the first half of 2004.

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

With the 1.2 percent increase in January, the leading index now stands at 131.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.5 percent in December and increased 0.5 percent again in November. During the six-month span through January, the leading index increased 3.0 percent with seven of the eight components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 81.3 percent).

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

With the 0.1 percent increase in January, the coincident index now stands at 113.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in December and remained unchanged in November. During the six-month period through January, the coincident index increased 0.6 percent, with three of the four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75 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 March 10, 2004. Some series are estimated as noted below.

NOTES: 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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