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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Conference Board announced today that both the leading and coincident indexes for Australia increased 0.2 percent in August.

  • The leading index increased again in August for the seventh consecutive month, and the strength in the leading index continued to be widespread. With this month’s small increase, the leading index has been growing at about a 5.0 percent annual rate in recent months, well above the 1.0-2.0 percent range through the first quarter of 2005.
  • The coincident index also increased slightly in August, and it continues to grow on a steadily rising trend. At the same time, real GDP growth picked up to a 5.2 percent annual rate in the second quarter of 2005 from the 1.8 percent average growth rate in 2004. The improvement in the leading index since the beginning of 2005 suggests that economic growth is likely to continue in the near term.

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

With the 0.2 percent increase in August, the leading index now stands at 159.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.4 percent in July and increased 0.7 percent in June. During the six-month period through August, the leading index increased 3.3 percent, and seven of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 85.7 percent).

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

With the 0.2 percent increase in August, the coincident index now stands at 118.7 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index was unchanged in July and increased 0.3 percent in June. During the six-month period through August, 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 October 25, 2005. Some series are estimated as noted below.

* See notes under data availability.

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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