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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Wednesday, November 20, 2002

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for Australia increased 0.3 percent, and the coincident index decreased 0.1 percent in September.

  • The leading index continued to increase in September. While the housing sector remained strong, the stock market declined for the fourth time in the last six months.
  • Although the leading index has been increasing for the last three months, there is uncertainty in the strength of the components, as indicated by the six-month diffusion index which has remained below or at 50 percent for the last three months.
  • The coincident index declined for the first time since February 2001. A sharp drop in employment contributed to this month’s decrease in the coincident index.

Leading Indicators. Five of the eight components of the leading index increased in September. The positive contributors to the index —in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest— are building approvals*, inverted medium term bond yield*, sales to inventory ratio*, real money supply*, and gross operating surplus*. Three of the eight components of the leading index decreased in September. The negative contributors to the index —in order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest—are stock prices, rural goods exports, and yield spread.

With the increase of 0.3 percent in September, the leading index now stands at 147.0 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.5 percent in August and increased 0.1 percent in July. During the six-month span through September, the leading index increased 1.4 percent, and four of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Three of the five components of the coincident index increased in September. The increases - in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest - occurred in retail trade*, household disposable income*, and industrial production*. The number of employed persons was the only component to decrease in September, while the inverted unemployment rate remained unchanged.

With the decrease of 0.1 percent in September, the coincident index now stands at 113.2 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.4 percent in August and remained unchanged in July. During the six-month period through September, the coincident index increased 0.5 percent, with all five series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100 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 November 19, 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 from April 2002 and on 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.

Due to Reserve Bank of Australia’s discontinuation of the 3-month Treasury Bill (for details see ‘For the Record” in June 2002 RBA bulletin). The Conference Board will use the Bank Accepted Bill 90 Days to calculate the yield spread from now on.

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

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