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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Australia increased 0.3 percent and the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in April.

  • The leading index increased again in April, the third consecutive increase. The largest contributor to the gain was again real money supply (M3). In recent months, the weaknesses among the leading indicators has been concentrated in building approvals, yield spread, and rural goods exports, but overall the strengths among the leading indicators have been somewhat more widespread than weaknesses. The leading index has been rising steadily since the second half of 2005, and in April, its six-month growth rate was at 2.5 percent rate (a 5.0 percent annual growth rate).
  • The coincident index increased slightly again in April. The index has risen at a slow, but steady, rate since early 2006, and the strengths among the components have remained more widespread than weaknesses. The largest contributor to the gain in April was employment. At the same time, real GDP grew at a 6.6 percent annual rate in the first quarter, following a 4.3 percent rate in the fourth quarter. The recent behavior of the coincident and leading indexes suggests moderate to strong economic growth should continue in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Five of the eight components in the leading index increased in April. The positive contributors to the index — in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest — are money supply*, gross operating surplus*, share prices, the sales to inventories ratio*, and the (inverted) "medium-term" government bond yield. Rural goods exports* and building approvals* declined, while yield spread remained unchanged in April.

With the 0.3 percent increase in April, the leading index now stands at 169.7 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.8 percent in March and increased 1.0 percent in February. During the six-month period through April, the leading index increased 2.5 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 April. The increases — in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest — occurred in employed persons, the (inverted) unemployment rate, household gross disposable income*, industrial production*. Retail trade declined in April.

With the increase of 0.2 percent in April, the coincident index now stands at 121.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased in March and increased 0.2 percent in February. During the six-month period through April, the coincident index increased 1.3 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" 10 A.M. ET on June 25, 2007. 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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