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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Thursday, March 23, 2006

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

  • The leading index increased again in January. With January’s gain, the growth rate of the leading index picked up slightly to about a 2.0 - 3.0 percent annual rate in recent months, but it is still below the 4.0-5.0 percent rate reached through September 2005. In addition, the strengths among the leading indicators continue to be somewhat more widespread, with six of the eight components of the leading index rising from July to January.
  • The coincident index increased slightly in January, and it has been on an essentially flat trend since early 2005. The household gross disposable income was the major positive contributor to the coincident index over the last six months. At the same time, real GDP slowed to a 1.5 percent average annual rate in the second half of 2005 (including a 1.9 percent rate in the fourth quarter), down from the 4.0 percent average rate in the first half of the year. The behavior in the leading index in recent months suggests that the economy is likely to continue growing moderately in the near term.

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

With the 0.2 percent increase in January, the leading index now stands at 160.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.6 percent in December and increased 0.3 percent in November. During the six-month period through January, the leading index increased 1.1 percent, and six of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

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

With the increase of 0.1 percent in January, the coincident index now stands at 118.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index was unchanged in December and increased 0.2 percent in November. During the six-month period through January, the coincident index increased 0.3 percent, with three of the five components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 70.0 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 March 22, 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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