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Released: Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for Korea increased 0.8 percent while The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for Korea declined 0.3 percent in October.

  • The Conference Board LEI for Korea increased again in October, with letter of credit arrivals and exports making large positive contributions. Despite this month’s increase, the leading economic index contracted by 0.8 percent (about a -1.6 percent annual rate) between April and October 2012, sharply down from the increase of 1.5 percent (about a 3.0 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. Additionally, the weaknesses among the leading indicators have remained more widespread than the strengths in recent months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for Korea, a measure of current economic activity, declined this month. Between April and October 2012, the coincident economic index grew by 0.4 percent (about a 0.9 percent annual rate), slower than the 0.9 percent increase (about a 1.9 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. At the same time, real GDP grew at a 0.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2012, down from 1.1 percent growth (annual rate) in the second quarter.  
  • The LEI for Korea has increased in the last two months, after declining for five consecutive months, but its six-month change remains in negative territory. Meanwhile, The CEI for Korea declined in October, and its six-month growth rate has slowed compared to earlier this year. Taken together, the composite indexes and their components continue to suggest that the rate of economic growth is likely to remain slow in the near term.

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

With the 0.8 percent increase in October, The Conference Board LEI for Korea now stands at 120.9 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 1.1 percent in September and declined 0.6 percent in August. During the six-month span through October, the leading economic index decreased 0.8 percent, with three of the seven components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 42.9 percent).

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

With the 0.3 percent decrease in October, The Conference Board CEI for Korea now stands at 117.7 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.4 percent in September and decreased 0.3 percent in August. During the six-month span through October, the coincident economic 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 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 December 12, 2012.  

* 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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