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Benchmark Revisions - November 2006

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Released: Tuesday, April 5, 2005

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for Japan was unchanged, and the coincident index decreased 0.8 percent in February.

  • The leading index was unchanged in February, but there were large downward revisions to the previous several months, as actual data for real operating profits for the fourth quarter of 2004 became available. As a result, the leading index has declined slightly over the last six months, well below the 1.5 percent long-term average growth rate. At the same time, the strengths and weaknesses among the leading indicators have become somewhat more balanced in recent months.
  • " Real GDP increased at a 0.5 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2004 after declining at a 1.1 percent average rate in the previous two quarters. The slight decline in the leading index in recent months suggests that a sluggish rate of economic growth should continue in the near term.

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

Holding steady in February, the leading index now stands at 98.7 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index was increased 0.4 percent in January and decreased 0.2 percent in December. During the six-month span through February, the index declined 0.4 percent, and four of ten components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 40.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators.All six components that make up the coincident index decreased in February. The negative contributors to the index - in order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest - include industrial production, number of employed persons, real wholesale sales, real retail sales, wage and salary income*, and real manufacturing sales*.

With the 0.8 percent decline in February, the coincident index now stands at 100.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 1.0 percent in January and increased 0.2 percent in December. During the six-month span through February, the index decreased 0.4 percent, and two of the six components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 33.3 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 April 4, 2005. 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 and six month growth rate of labor productivity. 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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