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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

Press Release Archive

Released: Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Australia increased 0.5 percent and the coincident index increased 0.3 percent in September.

  • The leading index increased sharply in September following two small gains in previous months. As a result, the leading index has continued increasing at about a 5.0-6.0 percent annual rate in recent months, up from 2.0-3.0 percent earlier this year. The strength among the components of the leading index has also continued to be widespread.
  • The coincident index also increased in September, and has been on a slightly rising trend since the second half of 2003. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed to a 2.2 percent annual rate in the first half of 2004, down from a 6.0 percent average rate in the second half of 2003. The current strong growth of the leading index suggests that real GDP should start increasing more rapidly again in the near term.

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

With the 0.5 percent increase in September, the leading index now stands at 156.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in August and increased 0.2 percent in July. During the six-month period through September, the leading index increased 3.0 percent, and six of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 81.3 percent).

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

With the 0.3 percent increase, the coincident index now stands at 117.0 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index was unchanged in both August and July. During the six-month period through September, the coincident index increased 0.9 percent, with four of the five components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 90.0 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 November 17, 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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