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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

Press Release Archive

Released: Thursday, July 22, 2004

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

  • The leading index continued increasing in May, although the gains in the last several months have been small. As a result, the current growth rate of the leading index has slowed into the 1.5-2.0 percent range (annual rate), down from about a 3.0 percent rate in the second half of 2003. Despite this moderating trend, the strength among the components of the leading index has continued to be widespread. The coincident index fell slightly in May, but is still on a slightly rising trend.
  • Real GDP increased at a 5.3 percent average annual rate in the second half of 2003, but then slowed to a 0.9 percent rate in the first quarter of 2004. The behavior of the leading index suggests that real GDP will continue increasing this year -- more rapidly than the first quarter's 0.9 percent growth, but not as rapidly as it did in the second half of last year.

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

With the 0.1 percent increase in May, the leading index now stands at 151.4 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in both April and March. During the six-month period through May, the leading index increased 1.0 percent, and four of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 62.5 percent).

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

With the 0.1 percent decrease in May, the coincident index now stands at 116.0 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in April and 0.4 percent in March. During the six-month period through May, the coincident index increased 0.4 percent, with three of the five components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 60.0 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 July 21, 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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