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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Thursday, January 20, 2005

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

  • The leading index increased in November for the third consecutive month. As a result, the growth rate of the leading index has improved to about a 3.5 percent annual rate in recent months, up from a 0.0 to 1.0 percent rate in the third quarter of 2004, but still below the 5.0 to 6.0 percent growth reached in the first half of 2004. In addition, the strength in the leading index has continued to be widespread.
  • • The coincident index also increased in November, and has been on a gradually rising trend since the second half of 2003. At the same time, real GDP growth has slowed to a 1.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2004, down from 2.5 percent in the first half of the year and 6.5 percent in the second half of 2003. The stronger growth of the leading index in recent months suggests that economic growth should pick up in the near term, but not back up to the very strong pace in the second half of 2003.

Leading Indicators.Five of the eight components in the leading index increased in November. 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, building approvals*, share prices, and gross operating surplus*. Rural goods exports* , yield spread, and the sales to inventories ratio* declined in November.

With the 0.5 percent increase in November, the leading index now stands at 155.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in October and increased 0.1 percent in September. During the six-month period through November, the leading index increased 0.8 percent, and four of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators. All five components in the coincident index increased in November. 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 November, the coincident index now stands at 117.4 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in October and increased 0.3 percent in September. During the six-month period through November, the coincident index increased 0.8 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 January 19, 2005. 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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