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Released: Thursday, October 23, 2003

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Germany increased 0.2 percent, while the coincident index declined 0.5 percent in August.

  • The leading index increased for the third consecutive month in August and has now increased at about a 3.5 percent annual rate from its recent low in March. In addition, the strength in the leading index has been widespread over this period.
  • The coincident index declined in August and it has been on a downward trend over the past year and a half. The weakness in the coincident index is consistent (with the normal lag) with the decline in the leading index earlier this year. Correspondingly, real GDP has declined slightly over the last three quarters.
  • The improvement in the leading index since March is signaling a moderate pickup in economic growth during the second half of the year. In addition, this month’s increase makes it more likely that the long decline in the leading index over the preceding three years has come to an end.

Leading Indicators. Five of the eight components in the leading index increased in August. The positive contributors to the leading index - in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest - are new residential construction orders*, stock prices, new orders in investment goods industries, the yield spread, and the inventory change series*. Two of the eight components in the leading index decreased in August. The negative contributors to the leading index -in order from the larger to the smaller negative contributor- are the growth rate of CPI for services and gross enterprises and properties income*. Consumer confidence remained unchanged in August.

With a 0.2 percent increase in August, the leading index now stands at 100.9 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.6 percent in July and decreased 0.5 percent in June. During the six-month span through August, the leading index increased 0.9 percent, with five of the eight components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 62.5 percent).

Coincident Indicators. One of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in August. The positive contributor to the coincident index was employed persons. Manufacturing sales, retail trade sales, and industrial production decreased in August.

With a 0.5 percent decline in August, the coincident index now stands at 108.2 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index held steady in July and decreased 0.1 percent in June. During the six-month period through August, the coincident index decreased 1.8 percent, with only one of the four components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 12.5 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 October 22, 2003. Some series are estimated as noted below.

*Notes: Series in the leading index for Germany that are based on The Conference Board estimates are inventory change and gross enterprises and properties income. Series in the coincident index for Germany that are based on The Conference Board estimates is employed persons.

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

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