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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Thursday, July 21, 2005

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

  • The leading index increased again in May, but there were downward revisions to the previous several months. The leading has been fluctuating around a slightly rising trend since the middle of 2004, and strengths and weaknesses among the leading indicators have been relatively balanced in recent months. The 0.0 to 1.0 percent growth rate of the leading index in recent months is well below the 5.0 to 6.0 percent growth reached in the first half of 2004.
  • The coincident index increased slightly in May, keeping it on a steadily rising trend. At the same time, real GDP increased at a 2.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2005, up from 1.5 percent growth in 2004, but still well below 4.5 percent growth in 2003. The current behavior of the leading index suggests that the economy will continue to grow in the near term, but perhaps more slowly than in the first quarter.

Leading Indicators.Four 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 money supply*, the (inverted) “medium-term” government bond yield, share prices, and gross operating surplus*. Yield spread, the sales to inventories ratio*, rural goods exports*, and building approvals*declined in May.

With the 0.2 percent increase in May, the leading index now stands at 155.0 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.4 percent in April and decreased 0.3 percent in March. During the six-month period through May, the leading index increased 0.2 percent, and four of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 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 retail trade, employed persons, household gross disposable income*, and industrial production*. The (inverted) unemployment rate remained unchanged in May.

With the 0.1 percent increase in May, the coincident index now stands at 118.0 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index was unchanged in April and increased 0.2 percent in March. During the six-month period through May, 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 July 20, 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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