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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Australia increased 0.1 percent and the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in December.

  • The leading index increased slightly in December, the fourth consecutive gain, and the strength remains widespread. With this month’s increase, the growth rate of the leading index has improved to about a 2.5 to 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 rate reached in the first half of 2004.
  • The coincident index also increased in December, and has been increasing at a moderate rate since the middle of 2003. Real GDP growth slowed to a 1.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2004, down from 2.5 percent in the first half of 2004 and an even stronger 6.5 percent rate in the second half of 2003. The pickup in the leading index in recent months is signaling somewhat stronger economic growth in the near term.

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

With the 0.1 percent increase in December, the leading index now stands at 155.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.5 percent in November and increased 0.3 percent in October. During the six-month period through December, the leading index increased 0.6 percent, and six of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 80.0 percent).

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

With the 0.2 percent increase in December, the coincident index now stands at 117.4 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in November and increased 0.2 percent in October. During the six-month period through December, the coincident index increased 0.7 percent, with four of the five components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 80.0 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 February 23, 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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