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Benchmark Revisions - September 2005

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Released: Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Korea increased 1.9 percent, and the coincident index was unchanged in January.

  • The leading index increased sharply in January and there were large upward revisions to the previous several months. As a result, the growth rate of the leading index has picked up sharply to about 5.0-6.0 percent (annual rate) in recent months, only slightly below the very rapid 7.0 percent growth through the first quarter of 2004. Value of machinery orders, letter of credit arrivals, as well as real exports were the main contributors to January’s gain, and the strength in the leading index continues to be widespread.
  • The coincident index was unchanged again in January and has been on a flat to slightly rising trend since the second half of 2004. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed to a 2.7 percent average annual rate during the first three quarters of 2004, down from the very strong growth in the second half of 2003. Although it is still too early to tell if the strength in the leading index is sustainable, the stronger growth in the leading index in recent months suggests the economy should pick up in the near term from the sluggish growth reported so far in 2004.

Leading Indicators.Six of the eight components that make up the leading index increased in January. The positive contributors - from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – were value of machinery orders, letter of credit arrivals, real exports FOB, stock prices, authorized building permits, and the (inverted) index of inventories to shipments. The (inverted) yield of government public bonds and monthly hours worked* decreased in January.

With the 1.9 percent increase in January, the leading index now stands at 126.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 1.0 percent in December and increased 0.8 percent in November. During the six-month span through January, the leading index increased 3.8 percent, with six of the eight components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators.Two of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in January. The positive contributors - from the larger positive contributor to smaller – were industrial production and the (inverted) unemployment rate. Wholesale and retail sales and total employment declined in January.

Holding steady in January, the coincident index now stands at 111.9 (1990=100). This index held steady in December and increased 0.2 percent in November. During the six-month span through January, the coincident index increased 0.4 percent, with three of the four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0 percent).

DATA AVAILABILITY. The data series used to compute the two composite indexes reported in this release are those available “as of” 10 A.M. (ET) on March 9, 2005.

Notes: The series in the leading index based on The Conference Board’s estimates is monthly hours worked. There is no forecasted series in the coincident index.

The data series used to compute the two composite indexes reported in this release are those available “as of” 10 A.M. (ET) on March 9, 2005.

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

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