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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Australia increased 0.5 percent and the coincident index remained unchanged in December.

  • The leading index increased again in December, the second consecutive increase, and the strength among the leading indicators continued to be somewhat widespread. The leading index is still fluctuating around a 1.0 - 2.0 percent annual rate in recent months, down from the 4.0-5.0 percent rate reached through September 2005.
  • The coincident index was unchanged in December, and it has been essentially unchanged since June 2005. At the same time, real GDP slowed to a 0.6 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2005, down from the 4.1 percent average rate in the first half of the year. The behavior in the leading index in recent months suggests that the sluggish rate reported in the third quarter of 2005 is not likely to persist and that the economy should continue growing moderately in the near term.

Leading Indicators.Six 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*, rural goods exports*, share prices, gross operating surplus*, the (inverted) “medium-term” government bond yield, and the sales to inventories ratio*. Building approvals* and yield spread declined in December.

With the 0.5 percent increase in December, the leading index now stands at 159.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in November and declined 0.2 percent in October. During the six-month period through December, the leading index increased 0.7 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 December. The increases - in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – occurred in household gross disposable income*, employed persons, retail trade, and industrial production*. The (inverted) unemployment rate declined in December.

Holding steady in December, the coincident index now stands at 118.7 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in November and decreased 0.1 percent in October. During the six-month period through December, the coincident index increased 0.2 percent, with two of the five components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 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” 10 A.M. ET on February 21, 2006. 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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