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Released: Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for the U.K. decreased 0.4 percent, while the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in November.

  • The leading index declined in November, and in addition there were large downward revisions to the previous several months as revisions to new orders and actual data for productivity became available. As a result, the growth rate of the leading index has now slowed to about a 0.0 to 1.0 percent annual rate, down from the 6.0-7.0 percent growth rate reached in early 2004. Weakness among the components of the leading index is not yet widespread, and November’s decline was concentrated in order book volume and expected output.
  • The coincident index increased again in November, and it has been on a slightly rising trend for the last several years. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed to a 1.9 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2004, down from a 3.5 percent average rate over the previous four quarters. The current behavior of the leading index suggests that the economy should continue growing in the near term at about the same sluggish pace as in the third quarter.

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

With the 0.4 percent decrease in November, the leading index now stands at 133.1 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in October and increased 0.2 percent in September. During the six-month span through November, the leading index decreased 0.4 percent, with four of the eight components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators.Three of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in November. The positive contributors – from the larger positive contributor to the smaller – were employment*, retail sales, and real household disposable income*. Industrial production remained steady in November.

With the 0.1 percent increase in November, the coincident index now stands at 115.2 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in October and increased 0.2 percent in September. During the six-month period through November, the coincident index increased 0.5 percent, with three of the four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0 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 January 10, 2005. 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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