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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Australia declined 0.1 percent and the coincident index increased 0.3 percent in May.

  • The leading index fell slightly in May, mainly as a result of a large negative contribution from share prices. In addition, April and March values were revised down as a result of data revisions. The growth rate of the leading index has been fluctuating at an annual rate of about 2.0 percent in recent months, below the most recent high of almost 5.0 percent (annual rate) reached in mid-2005. Over the period from November to May, real money supply and share prices have made the largest positive contributions, and the strengths among the leading indicators have been somewhat more widespread.
  • The coincident index increased slightly in May. Employed persons and retail trade are the main positive contributors to the coincident index over the last six months. At the same time, real GDP growth picked up to a 3.5 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2006, up from a 1.9 percent average annual rate in the second half of 2005. The current behavior of the leading index still suggests that moderate economic growth is likely to continue in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Three 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 building approvals*, gross operating surplus*, and the sales to inventories ratio*. Share prices, money supply*, rural goods exports*, and the (inverted) "medium-term" government bond yield declined in May. The yield spread remained unchanged.

With the 0.1 percent decrease in May, the leading index now stands at 160.2 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.1 percent in April and increased 0.2 percent in March. During the six-month period through May, the leading index increased 0.6 percent, and six of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0 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 employed persons, the (inverted) unemployment rate, household gross disposable income*, and industrial production*. Retail trade declined in May.

With the increase of 0.3 percent in May, the coincident index now stands at 119.4 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in April and increased 0.3 percent in March. During the six-month period through May, the coincident index increased 0.7 percent, with four of the five components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 80.0 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 July 25, 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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