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Benchmark Revisions - November 2006

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Released: Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for Japan increased 2.1 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index®(CEI) increased 0.1 percent in March.

  • The Conference Board LEI for Japan rose sharply again in March, with the index of overtime worked, new orders for machinery and construction*, and the Tankan business conditions survey making the largest positive contributions. With this month’s gain, the six-month growth rate of the LEI picked up to 3.9 percent (about a 7.9 percent annual rate) between September 2012 and March 2013, a reversal from the decline of 4.6 percent (about a -9.1 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. Moreover, the strengths among the leading indicators have remained more widespread than the weaknesses in recent months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for Japan, a measure of current economic activity, increased slightly in March. Between September 2012 and March 2013, the coincident economic index increased 0.8 percent (about a 1.7 percent annual rate), up from the decline of 1.5 percent (about a -3.1 percent annual rate) for the previous six months. Moreover, the strengths among the coincident indicators have become very widespread, with all components advancing over the last six months. Meanwhile, Japan’s real GDP grew 0.2 percent (annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2012, up from the contraction of 3.7 percent (annual rate) in the third quarter of the year.
  • The Conference Board LEI for Japan grew strongly in both March and February and as a result, its six-month growth has picked up sharply. At the same time, The Conference Board CEI for Japan increased moderately for the third consecutive month, and its six-month change has also improved from the second half of last year. Taken together, the recent gains in both the LEI and CEI suggest that the rate of economic expansion is likely to pick up in the coming months.

LEADING INDICATORS. Eight of the ten components that make up The Conference Board LEI for Japan increased in March. The positive contributors to the index – in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – were the index of overtime worked, new orders for machinery and construction*, the Tankan business conditions survey, stock prices, (inverted) business failures,  the six month growth rate of labor productivity,  real money supply, and the interest rate spread. The negative contributors – in order from the larger negative contributor to the smaller – were dwelling units started and real operating profits*.

With the increase of 2.1 percent in March, The Conference Board LEI for Japan now stands at 96.0 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 1.2 percent in February and increased 0.8 percent in January. During the six-month span through March, the index increased 3.9 percent, and eight of the ten components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 80.0 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS.  Two of the four components that make up The Conference Board CEI for Japan increased in March. The positive contributors to the index – in order from the larger positive contributor to the smaller – were wage and salary income and industrial production.  Retail, wholesale, and manufacturing sales* and number of employed persons declined in March.

With the increase of 0.1 percent in March, The Conference Board CEI for Japan now stands at 96.8 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in February and increased 0.3 percent in January. During the six-month span through March, the index increased 0.8 percent, and all four components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100.0 percent).

DATA AVAILABILITY AND NOTES. The data series used to compute The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for Japan and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for Japan reported in this release are those available “as of” 5:00 P.M. ET May 8, 2013.  Some series are estimated as noted below.

* The series in The Conference Board LEI that are based on our estimates are real operating profits and new orders for machinery.  The series in The Conference Board CEI that is based on our estimates is real manufacturing sales.

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

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