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Benchmark Revisions - November 2006

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Released: Thursday, September 9, 2004

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for Japan increased 0.1 percent and the coincident index held steady in July.

  • The leading index increased slightly in July following a large gain in June, and the strength continues to be widespread. The leading index fell slightly in the first quarter of 2004 (mostly because of a decline in manufacturing productivity), following very rapid growth (a 10.0 percent annual rate) in the second half of 2003. Since the first quarter, the growth rate of the leading index has picked up to a 3.0-5.0 percent annual rate.
  • Correspondingly, real GDP growth slowed to a 1.7 percent annual rate in the second quarter of 2004, down from an average rate of 7.0 percent over the preceding two quarters. The recent behavior of the leading index is signaling a moderate pickup in the rate of economic growth from the second quarter’s sluggish pace.

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

With the increase of 0.1 percent in July, the leading index now stands at 98.2 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.9 percent in June and increased 0.5 percent in May. During the six-month span through July, the index increased 1.1 percent, and seven of ten components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 70.0 percent).

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

Holding steady in July, the coincident index now stands at 100.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in June and decreased 0.4 percent in May. During the six-month span through July, the index decreased 2.0 percent, and almost none of the six components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 8.3 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 September 8, 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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