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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index™ (LEI) for Australia increased 0.7 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index™ (CEI) increased 0.1 percent in April.

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  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia increased in April for the third consecutive month, and the strengths among its components remained more widespread than the weaknesses this month. Building approvals, money supply, and stock prices all rose sharply in April, while rural goods exports was the only component that declined. With this month's gain, the six-month change in the leading economic index has continued to improve, to -1.0 percent (a -1.9 percent annual rate) between October 2008 and April 2009, up from -3.2 percent (about a -6.3 percent annual rate) in the six-month period through January. However, the weaknesses among the leading indicators have been slightly more widespread than the strengths in the last six months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for Australia rose slightly in April, and there were downward revisions to the index for the previous five months as new data for household gross disposable income became available. Retail trade continued to increase, although at a much slower pace than in recent months. During the last six months through April, the index increased by 0.9 percent (about a 1.8 percent annual rate), down from the six-month growth rate of 1.5 percent reached in December 2008. In addition, the weaknesses among the coincident indicators have remained widespread in recent months. At the same time, real GDP increased at a 1.5 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2009, up from a decline of 2.2 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2008.
  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia, which had been declining since September 2008, has risen in the past three months. The six-month change in the index has remained negative, but its rate of decline has moderated in recent months. Meanwhile, The Conference Board CEI for Australia has been growing slowly despite large jumps in retail sales in the past several months. All in all, the current behavior of the composite indexes suggests that economic growth will remain weak in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Six of the seven components in The Conference Board LEI for Australia increased in April. The positive contributors to the index — in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest — are building approvals*, money supply*, share prices, the sales to inventories ratio*, yield spread, and gross operating surplus*. Rural goods exports* declined in April.

With the 0.7 percent increase in April, The Conference Board LEI for Australia now stands at 113.5 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.6 percent in March and increased 0.1 percent in February. During the six-month period through April, the leading economic index decreased 1.0 percent, and three of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 42.9 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. Two of the four components in The Conference Board CEI for Australia increased in April. The increases — in order from the larger positive contributor to the smaller — occurred in employed persons and retail trade. Household gross disposable income* and industrial production* declined in April.

With the increase of 0.1 percent in April, The Conference Board CEI for Australia now stands at 112.3 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.1 percent in March and increased 0.1 percent in February. During the six-month period through April, the coincident economic index increased 0.9 percent, with one of the four components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 25.0 percent).

DATA AVAILABILITY. The data series used to compute The Conference Board Leading Economic Index™ (LEI) for Australia and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index™ (CEI) for Australia reported in this release are those available "as of" 10 A.M. ET on June 23, 2009. Some series are estimated as noted below.

NOTES: Series in The Conference Board LEI for Australia that are based on our 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 Conference Board CEI for Australia that are based on our 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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