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Benchmark Revisions - March 2007

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Released: Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Germany declined 0.1 percent, while the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in February.

  • While the leading index declined only slightly in February, the originally reported small decline in January was revised downward sharply as actual data for new residential construction orders became available. As a result, there has now been a brief pause in the upward trend underway since March 2003.
  • The coincident index increased slightly in February, and there were small upward revisions to previous months. As a result, the coincident index has increased slightly from its recent low in September after declining in the first half of 2003. Correspondingly, real GDP increased at a 0.9 percent annual rate in the second half of 2003 after falling at a 0.8 percent rate in the first half of the year.
  • Although the upward trend in the leading index since March 2003 still most likely marks the end of the long decline in the leading index from mid-2000 to mid-2003, the recent weakness adds to the uncertainty about the strength and durability of an economic recovery.

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

With a 0.1 percent decrease in February, the leading index now stands at 102.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.6 percent in January and increased 0.3 percent in December. During the six-month span through February, the leading index increased 1.2 percent, with five of the eight components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 68.8 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Three of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in February. The positive contributors to the coincident index were retail trade, manufacturing sales, and employed persons*. Industrial production decreased in February.

With a 0.1 percent increase in February, the coincident index now stands at 103.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index held steady in January and increased 0.1 percent in December. During the six-month period through February, the coincident index increased 0.4 percent, with two of the four components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50 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 April 20, 2004. 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, new residential construction orders, and gross enterprises and properties income. Series in the coincident index for Germany that are based on The Conference Board estimates include 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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