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Benchmark Revisions - March 2007

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Released: Monday, May 23, 2005

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

  • The leading index declined in March following a small decline in February and no change in January, and weaknesses among the leading indicators have become more widespread in recent months. With this month’s decline, the leading index has now fallen slightly over the last six months, down from about 2.5 percent growth in late 2004 and even stronger 5.0 percent growth in the second half of 2003.
  • The coincident index increased slightly again in March, and it has been on a rising trend since late 2003. At the same time, real GDP increased sharply in the first quarter of 2005 (a 4.2 percent annual rate) following a small decline in the second half of 2004 (a -0.4 percent annual rate). The more widespread weakness in the leading index in recent months suggests that the economy will continue to grow in the near term, but at a more sluggish rate than in the first quarter of 2005.

Leading Indicators.Three of the eight components in the leading index increased in March. The positive contributors to the leading index - in order from the larger positive contributor to the smaller - are the growth rate of CPI for services, the yield spread, and stock prices. New orders in investment goods industries, consumer confidence, new residential construction orders*, and gross enterprises and properties income* declined, while the inventory change series* remained unchanged in March.

With the 0.4 percent decrease in March, the leading index now stands at 102.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.1 percent in February and was unchanged in January. During the six-month span through March, the leading index declined 0.8 percent, with four of the eight components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators.Only one of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in March. The positive contributor to the coincident index was retail trade. Industrial production and manufacturing sales declined, while employed persons* remained unchanged in March.

With the 0.1 percent increase in March, the coincident index now stands at 104.4 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in February and increased 0.2 percent in January. During the six-month period through March, the coincident index increased 0.4 percent, with three of the four components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0 percent).

Data Availability.The data series used to compute the two composite indexes reported in this release are those available “as of” 10:00 A.M. ET May 20, 2005. 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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