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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Wednesday, July 24, 2002

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for Australia decreased 0.1 percent, and the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in May.

  • Despite a slight decline this month, the positive trend in the leading index continues and is now 5.6 percent above its May 2001 level.
  • This month's decline in the leading index was caused by weakness in the financial sector. Although the stock market gained moderately in May, other financial sector components -- including bond yield, yield spread and money supply -- declined. The financial sector needs to be closely monitored in the coming months, as it can affect the rising trend in the leading index.
  • The coincident index gained in May, discounting a mild decline in April. A sharp increase in the number of employed persons provided the strength behind the increase in the coincident index.

LEADING INDICATORS. Five of the eight components of the leading index increased in May. The positive contributors to the index -in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest- are exports of rural goods*, gross operating surplus*, sales to inventory ratio*, building approvals*, and stock prices. Three of the eight components of the leading index decreased in May. The negative contributors to the index -in order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest-are inverted medium term bond yield, yield spread, and real money supply*. (For details see data availability section and tables).

With the decrease of 0.1 percent in May, the leading index now stands at 145.9 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.9 percent in April and increased 0.1 percent in March. During the six-month span through May, the leading index increased 1.6 percent, and seven of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 87.5 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. Three of the five components of the coincident index increased in May. The increases - in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest - occurred in employed persons, household disposable income*, and industrial production*. Retail trade* and the inverted unemployment rate remained unchanged in May. (For details see data availability section and tables).

With the increase of 0.2 percent in May, the coincident index now stands at 112.7 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.1 percent in April, and increased 0.3 percent in March. During the six-month period through May, the coincident index increased 0.7 percent, with four of five series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 80 percent).

DATA AVAILABILITY. The data series used by The Conference Board to compute the two composite indexes reported in the tables in this release are those available "as of" 10 A.M. ET on July 23, 2002. Some series are estimated as noted below.

*NOTES: Series in the leading index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are sales to inventory ratio and gross operating surplus for private non-financial corporations, the implicit price index used to deflate rural goods exports and building approvals, the CPI used to deflate money supply. (Money Supply M3 levels for April and May 2002 are derived from growth rates reported by RBA). Series in the coincident index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are the CPI used to deflate retail trade, industrial production and household disposable income.

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

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