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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Monday, December 21, 2009

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index™ (LEI) for Australia declined 0.3 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index™ (CEI) increased 0.1 percent in October.

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  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia decreased in October, the first decrease in five months. There were also downward revisions to the index between July and September after new data for the sales-to-inventories ratio became available. Between April and October 2009, the leading economic index increased by 1.1 percent (about a 2.1 percent annual rate), a reversal from the 1.2 percent decline (about a -2.4 percent annual rate) between October 2008 and April 2009. In addition, the strengths among the leading indicators have remained slightly more widespread than the weaknesses in recent months.

  • The Conference Board CEI for Australia, a measure of current economic activity, increased in October for the first time since May. However, the index was revised downward between June and September as new data for household gross disposable income became available. Between April and October 2009, the coincident economic index declined by 0.1 percent (about a 0.2 percent annual rate), down from the 1.3 percent increase (about a 2.7 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. Additionally, the strengths among the coincident indicators have become slightly more widespread than the weaknesses in recent months. At the same time, real GDP increased at a 0.8 percent annual rate during the third quarter of 2009, after increasing at a 2.6 percent annual rate during the second quarter.

  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia has been mostly rising since the beginning of 2009, but the pace of its increase has slowed in recent months. Meanwhile, The Conference Board CEI for Australia fell in the third quarter, and its six-month growth rate turned slightly negative this month. Taken together, the current behavior of the composite indexes suggests that economic growth will remain weak in the near term.

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

With the 0.3 percent decrease in October, The Conference Board LEI for Australia now stands at 114.4 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in September and increased 1.1 percent in August. During the six-month period through October, the leading economic index increased 1.1 percent, and four of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 57.1 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. Two of the four components in The Conference Board CEI for Australia increased in October. The increases - in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest - occurred in employed persons and industrial production*. Retail trade declined in October, while household gross disposable income* remained unchanged.

With the increase of 0.1 percent in October, The Conference Board CEI for Australia now stands at 112.7 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in September and decreased 0.4 percent in August. During the six-month period through October, the coincident economic index decreased 0.1 percent, with two of the four components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 62.5 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 December 17, 2009. Some series are estimated as noted below.

*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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