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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Australia remained unchanged and the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in February.

  • The leading index was unchanged in February following three consecutive increases. The growth rate of the leading index has been fluctuating in the range of 2.0 - 3.0 percent annual rate in recent months, still below the 4.0-5.0 percent rate reached through September 2005. In addition, the strengths and weaknesses among the leading indicators continue to be somewhat balanced in recent months.
  • The coincident index increased slightly in February, and it has been on a flat to slightly rising trend since early 2005. The household gross disposable income and retail trade continue to be the major positive contributors to the coincident index in recent 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 moderate growth should continue in the near term.

Leading Indicators.Three of the eight components in the leading index increased in February. 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*, and the (inverted) “medium-term” government bond yield. Money supply*, rural goods exports*, and yield spread declined, while share prices and building approvals* remained unchanged in February.

Holding steady in February, the leading index now stands at 160.4 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in January and increased 0.6 percent in December. During the six-month period through February, the leading index increased 1.1 percent, and six of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0 percent).

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

With the increase of 0.2 percent in February, the coincident index now stands at 118.9 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in January and increased 0.1 percent in December. During the six-month period through February, the coincident index increased 0.1 percent, with two of the five components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 40.0 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 April 19, 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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