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Released: Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for Korea increased 1.3 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) increased 0.6 percent in December.

  • The Conference Board LEI for Korea increased sharply in December, the fourth consecutive monthly gain, with real exports FOB and letter of credit arrivals continuing to make large positive contributions to the index.  With the increase this month, the six-month growth rate in the Leading Economic Index picked up, to 2.7 percent (about a 5.6 percent annual rate) in the second half of 2010, from 1.6 percent (about a 3.2 percent annual rate) for the first half of the year. In addition, the strengths among the leading indicators have become more widespread than the weaknesses in the last six months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for Korea, a measure of current economic activity, also increased in December.  Industrial production and total employment both increased sharply this month.  With December’s gain, the Coincident Economic Index grew by 1.5 percent (about a 3.0 percent annual rate) in the six-month period through the end of 2010 – about the same rate as the previous six months.  At the same time, real GDP grew at a 2.2 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2010, down from 3.0 percent (annual rate) in the previous quarter.
  • The Conference Board LEI for Korea has risen for the past four months, and its six-month growth rate has rebounded recently. Meanwhile, The Conference Board CEI for Korea increased in the last two months after a three-month decline. Taken together, the current behavior of the composite indexes and their components suggest that moderate economic expansion should continue in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS.  Six of the seven components that make up The Conference Board LEI for Korea increased in December. The positive contributors – from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – were real exports FOB, letter of credit arrivals, stock prices, the (inverted) index of inventories to shipments, value of machinery orders, and the (inverted) yield of government public bonds.  Private construction orders declined in December.

With the 1.3 percent increase in December, The Conference Board LEI for Korea now stands at 119.9 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.9 percent in November and increased 1.2 percent in October.  During the six-month span through December, the leading economic index increased 2.7 percent, with five of the seven components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 71.4 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS.  Three of the four components that make up The Conference Board CEI for Korea increased in December.  The positive contributors– in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – were industrial production, total employment, and monthly cash earnings*.  The wholesale and retail sales component declined in December.

With the 0.6 percent increase in December, The Conference Board CEI for Korea now stands at 114.5 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.8 percent in November and decreased 0.2 percent in October. During the six-month span through December, the coincident economic index increased 1.5 percent, with all four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100.0 percent).

DATA AVAILABILITY.  The data series used to compute The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for Korea reported in this release are those available “as of” 10 A.M. (ET) on February 11, 2011.  

* The series in the coincident economic index based on The Conference Board’s estimates is monthly cash earnings.  There are no forecasted series in the leading economic index.

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

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