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Released: Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for Korea increased 1.3 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) increased 0.3 percent in January. 

  • The Conference Board LEI for Korea increased sharply again in January, with real exports FOB, letter of credit arrivals, and the (inverted) index of inventories to shipments continuing to make large positive contributions to the index.  With the increase this month, the six-month growth rate in the Leading Economic Index continued to pick up, to 5.2 percent (about a 10.6 percent annual rate) from July 2010 to January 2011, from 0.9 percent (about a 1.7 percent annual rate) for the previous six months. In addition, the strengths among the leading indicators have been 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 January.  Industrial production and the wholesale and retail sales component both made large positive contributions to the index this month.  The Coincident Economic Index grew by 1.6 percent (about a 3.2 percent annual rate) in the six-month period through January 2011, lower than the 3.6 percent increase (about a 7.2 percent annual rate) for 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 resumed its upward trend, after declining slightly in the middle of last year. In addition, its six-month growth rate has rebounded sharply. Meanwhile, The Conference Board CEI for Korea has also been increasing, although its six-month growth rate moderated somewhat from the first half of last year. Taken together, the current behavior of the composite indexes and their components suggest that economic expansion should continue in the near term.

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

With the 1.3 percent increase in January, The Conference Board LEI for Korea now stands at 121.8 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 1.2 percent in December and increased 0.9 percent in November.  During the six-month span through January, the leading economic index increased 5.2 percent, with four 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 January.  The positive contributors– in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – were industrial production, the wholesale and retail sales component, and monthly cash earnings*.   Total employment declined in January.

With the 0.3 percent increase in January, The Conference Board CEI for Korea now stands at 115.4 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.7 percent in December and increased 0.8 percent in November. During the six-month span through January, the coincident economic index increased 1.6 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 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 March 9, 2011.  

* The series in the coincident economic index based on The Conference Board’s estimates is monthly cash earnings.  There is 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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