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Benchmark Revisions - July 2007

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Released: Thursday, July 13, 2006

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

  • The leading index decreased slightly in May, following three consecutive increases, as a result of large negative contributions from consumer confidence, fixed interest prices index, and stock prices. Despite May's decline, the growth rate of the leading index has picked up from slightly negative rates in the second half of 2005, and is now fluctuating around a 4.0 percent annual rate in recent months. But, this is still below the most recent high of almost 7.0 percent reached in the first half of 2004. In addition, the strengths and weaknesses among the leading indicators have become somewhat more balanced in recent months.
  • The coincident index increased slightly again in April. This measure of current economic activity has been on a slightly rising trend since mid-2005 and the recent strength has been widespread among its components. At the same time, real GDP grew at a 3.1 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2006, up from the 2.1 percent average rate in the second half of 2005. The current behavior of the leading index suggests that moderate economic growth should continue in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Three of the eight components that make up the leading index increased in May. The positive contributors - from the largest positive contributor to the smallest - were order book volume, productivity for the whole economy*, and new orders for engineering industries*. The negative contributors - beginning with the largest negative contributor - were the fixed interest price index, consumer confidence, stock prices, and operating surplus. The volume of expected output remained unchanged in May.

With the 0.2 percent decrease in May, the leading index now stands at 136.2 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.9 percent in April and increased 0.2 percent in March. During the six-month span through May, the leading index increased 1.9 percent, with six of the eight components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 56.3 percent).

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

With the increase of 0.1 percent in May, the coincident index now stands at 116.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.1 percent in April and increased 0.3 percent in March. During the six-month period through May, the coincident index increased 0.5 percent, with all four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100.0 percent).

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

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