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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Monday, June 23, 2003

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Australia increased 0.4 percent and the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in April.

  • The leading index increased in April following a smaller increase in March. This increase was largely due to strength in stock prices and money supply, but was offset by weak rural exports. The two consecutive monthly increases bring the index back to a flat trend, which has been in place since last November.
  • The six-month growth rate of the leading index has fallen to 0.1 percent from a high of 2.2 percent last December. Weakness in the leading indicators has also become somewhat more widespread as exhibited by the six-month diffusion index remaining at or below 50.0 percent for the last three months.
  • The coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, increased slightly in April. This index has also been on a flat trend since the beginning of 2003. It is still uncertain whether the composite indexes are pointing to a slower trend in the coming months or whether the strong upward trend in the economy will resume.

Leading Indicators. Four of the eight components in the leading index increased in April. The positive contributors to the index — in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest — are money supply*, share prices, gross operating surplus*, and yield spread. Three of the eight components of the leading index decreased in April. The negative contributors to the index — in order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest — are rural goods exports*, sales to inventories ratio*, and (inverted) “medium term” government bond yield. Building approvals* were unchanged.

With an increase in April, the leading index now stands at 148.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in March and decreased 0.5 percent in February. During the six-month span through April, the leading index increased 0.1 percent, and three of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 37.5 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Four of the five components in the coincident index increased in April. The increases - in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – occurred in retail trade*, (inverted) unemployment rate, household gross disposable income*, and industrial production*. Employed persons declined.

With an increase of 0.1 percent in April, the coincident index now stands at 114.0 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.2 percent in March and increased 0.1 percent in February. During the six-month period through April, the coincident index increased 0.6 percent, with four components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 80.0 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” 3 P.M. ET on June 20, 2003. 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. (Money Supply M3 levels from April 2002 are derived from growth rates reported by RBA). Series in the coincident index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are industrial production and household disposable income.

Due to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s discontinuation of the 3-month Treasury Bill (for details see “For the Record” in the 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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