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Benchmark Revisions - March 2007

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Released: Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Germany increased 0.4 percent and the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in March.

  • The leading index increased again in March, following a sharp increase in February. New orders in investment goods industries and consumer confidence continued to make the largest positive contributions, more than offsetting negative contributions from stock prices and new residential construction orders. The leading index grew 0.5 percent (a 1.0 percent annual rate) from September to March. In addition, the strengths among the leading indicators have been somewhat more widespread than weaknesses in recent months.
  • The coincident index increased again in March, and it remains on a steady upward trend since 2005. The six month growth rate of the coincident index picked up again in March, following a slight moderation in the first two months of the year. In addition, strengths among the coincident indicators have also been widespread in recent months.
  • The six-month growth rate of the leading index was fluctuating between a 0.0 and 1.0 percent annual rate in the second half of 2006, and it picked up slightly in the last two months. At the same time, real GDP grew at a 2.1 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2007, below the 3.7 percent average annual rate in the second half of 2006. The continued widespread improvement in the leading index so far suggests that economic growth is likely to continue at a moderate to somewhat stronger rate in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Five of the seven components in the leading index increased in March. The positive contributors to the leading index — in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest — are new orders in investment goods industries, consumer confidence, inventory change series*, gross enterprises and properties income*, and yield spread. Negative contributors — in order from largest to smallest — are stock prices and new residential construction orders.

With the 0.4 percent increase in March, the leading index now stands at 98.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.7 percent in February and increased 0.2 percent in January. During the six-month span through March, the leading index increased 0.5 percent, with four of the eight components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 57.1 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. Two of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in March. The positive contributors to the coincident index were employed persons and manufacturing sales. Retail trade and industrial production declined in March.

With the 0.2 percent increase in March, the coincident index now stands at 108.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in February and decreased 0.2 percent in January. During the six-month period through March, the coincident index increased 1.2 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 22, 2007. 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. There are no series in the coincident index for Germany that are based on The Conference Board estimates.

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

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