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Benchmark Revisions - November 2006

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Released: Wednesday, July 7, 2004

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for Japan decreased 0.1 percent and the coincident index decreased 0.3 percent in May.

  • The leading index fell slightly in May, but April’s small increase was revised up as actual data for manufacturing productivity and new orders became available. The growth rate of the leading index has slowed from its recent peak rate reached late last year, and the strength has become somewhat less widespread.
  • Real GDP growth picked up to a 6.7 percent average rate over the last two quarters (7.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2003 and 6.1 percent in the first quarter of 2004). This pickup in GDP growth was consistent with the very strong growth in the leading index in the second half of 2003. The slower growth of the leading index over the last six months is signaling a moderation in the rate of economic growth this year.

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

With the decrease of 0.1 percent in May, the leading index now stands at 96.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in April and declined 0.4 percent in March. During the six-month span through May, the index increased 0.5 percent, and seven of ten components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 70.0 percent).

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

With a 0.3 percent decrease in May, the coincident index now stands at 101.4 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.6 percent in April and decreased 0.2 percent in March. During the six-month span through May, the index decreased 0.7 percent, and three of the six components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 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 July 6, 2004. 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, six month growth rate of labor productivity, and new orders for machinery. 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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