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Released: Monday, February 13, 2006

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

  • The leading index was unchanged in December, and November’s no change was revised down to a slight decline, as actual data for the new orders (engineering industries) component for November became available. The leading index has been decreasing at a 1.0-2.0 percent annual rate in recent months, but its rate of decline has moderated from the most recent low of almost – 2.0 percent in August. In addition, the weakness in the leading index has become more widespread in recent months.
  • The coincident index increased slightly again in December, and it remains on a slightly rising trend, but its growth has moderated since mid-2005. At the same time, real GDP grew at an average of 2.1 percent annual rate in the second half of 2005 (including a 2.6 percent rate in the fourth quarter of 2005), slightly down from a 2.5 percent average rate in 2004. The continued widespread weakness in the leading index in recent months suggests that economic growth should remain slow to moderate in the near term.

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

Holding steady in December, the leading index now stands at 132.4 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.3 percent in November and declined 0.4 percent in October. During the six-month span through December, the leading index declined 0.2 percent, with three of the eight components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 37.5 percent).

Coincident Indicators.All four components that make up the coincident index increased in December. The positive contributors – from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – were employment*, retail sales, real household disposable income*, and industrial production.

With the 0.2 percent increase in December, the coincident index now stands at 116.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in November and declined 0.2 percent in October. During the six-month period through December, the coincident index increased 0.3 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 February 10, 2006. 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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