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Benchmark Revisions - November 2006

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Released: Monday, November 10, 2003

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for Japan increased 0.5 percent and the coincident index increased 0.3 percent in September.

  • The leading index increased for the fifth consecutive month in September. The leading index is now up at a 7 percent (annual rate) from its recent low in April, and this strength has continued to be widespread.
  • The coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, increased by 0.3 percent in September. The coincident index has been fluctuating around a gradually rising trend over the past year.
  • After slowing to about a 2.5 percent rate in the fourth quarter of 2002 and first quarter of 2003, real GDP growth picked up to a 3.9 percent rate in the second quarter. The recent strength in the leading index is signaling a further improvement in economic growth in the near term.

Leading Indicators. Five of the ten components that make up the leading index increased in September. The positive contributors to the index – in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – include stock prices, (inverted) business failures, the Tankan business conditions survey, the six month growth rate of labor productivity*, and index of overtime worked. Five components decreased in September. The negative contributors to the index – in order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest – include dwelling units started*, new orders for machinery and construction*, yield spread, real money supply, and real operating profits*.

With an increase of 0.5 percent in September, the leading index now stands at 93.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.5 percent in August and increased 0.5 percent again in July. During the six-month span through September, the index increased 2.9 percent, and seven of the ten components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Five of the six components that make up the coincident index increased in September. The positive contributors to the index – in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – include industrial production, real wholesale sales, wage and salary income*, number of employed persons, and real manufacturing sales*. Real retail sales declined in September.

With a 0.3 percent increase in September, the coincident index now stands at 102.1 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index remained flat in August and decreased 0.4 percent in July. During the six-month span through September, the index increased 0.3 percent, and three of the six components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 66.7 percent).

Data Availability. The data series used to compute the two composite indexes reported in this release are those available “as of” 5:00 P.M. ET November 7, 2003. Some series are estimated as noted below.

*Notes: The series in the leading index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are real operating profits, dwelling units started, the six-month growth rate of labor productivity, and new orders for machinery and construction. The series in the coincident index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are real manufacturing sales and wage and salary income.

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

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