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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Thursday, May 20, 2004

The Conference Board announced today that both leading and coincident indexes for Australia increased 0.3 percent in March.

  • The leading index increased again in March, and has now grown at about a 5.5 percent annual rate since mid-2003. Despite some volatility from month to month, the strength in the leading index continues to be widespread. The coincident index increased in March following a slight decline in February, keeping it on a slight upward trend.
  • As signaled by the pick up in the growth rate of the leading index, real GDP increased at a 5.5 percent annual rate in the second half of 2003, up from 2.5 percent during the first half of the year. The continued strength in the leading index suggests that relatively strong economic growth is likely to persist in the near term.

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

With the 0.3 percent increase in March, the leading index now stands at 153.1 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.7 percent in February and increased 0.2 percent in January. During the six-month period through March, the leading index increased 2.3 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 March. 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 0.3 percent increase in March, the coincident index now stands at 116.0 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.1 percent in February and increased 0.2 percent in January. During the six-month period through March, the coincident index increased 1.0 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 May 19, 2004. 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.

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

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