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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

Press Release Archive

Released: Tuesday, December 23, 2003

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

  • October’s increase keeps the leading index on the slightly rising trend that began in early 2003, and the trend has steepened in recent months. The coincident index also increased again in October, the third consecutive large and widespread increase.
  • Real GDP growth picked up to almost a 5.0 percent annual rate in the third quarter following several quarters of about 2.0 percent growth. The leading index has been signaling that economic growth should stop slowing, and may even start improving in the second half of the year. This improvement appears to be underway and faster growth of the leading index in recent months is consistent with stronger economic conditions.

Leading Indicators. Five of the eight components in the leading index increased in October. The positive contributors to the index — in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest — are money supply*, share prices, building approvals*, gross operating surplus*, and yield spread. “Medium-term” government bond yield, rural goods exports*, and the (inverted) sales to inventories ratio* decreased in October.

With the 0.1 percent increase in October, the leading index now stands at 149.0 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.5 percent in September and increased 0.3 percent in August. During the six-month span through October, the leading index increased 0.7 percent, and five of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 62.5 percent).

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

With the 0.4 percent increase in October, the coincident index now stands at 115.4 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in September and increased 0.5 percent in August. During the six-month period through October, the coincident index increased 0.3 percent, with all five components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100.0 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” 5 P.M. ET on December 22, 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, and the CPI used to deflate money supply M3. Series in the coincident index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are industrial production and household disposable income. CPI was used to deflate retail trade.

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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