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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for Australia increased 0.7 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) remained unchanged in December.

  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia increased again in December, with all its components advancing. With the gain in December, the Leading Economic Index grew by 2.3 percent (a 4.6 percent annual rate) in the second half of 2010, down from 3.7 percent (a 7.5 percent annual rate) for the first half of the year. Nonetheless, the strengths and weaknesses among the leading indicators have been roughly balanced over the past six months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for Australia, a measure of current economic activity, was unchanged in December, following small increases since March 2010. Retail trade has declined for three consecutive months through December. Holding steady this month, the Coincident Economic Index grew by 1.1 percent (a 2.2 percent annual rate) in the six-month period through the end of 2010 – about the same rate as the previous six months. At the same time, real GDP grew at a 0.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2010, slower than the 4.6 percent (annual rate) increase in the second quarter.
  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia continued its upward trend through the end of 2010, after a brief pause in the third quarter. However, its six-month growth rate moderated somewhat from the first half of 2010. At the same time, The Conference Board CEI for Australia has generally increased throughout 2010 and its six-month growth rate has been fairly steady.  Taken together, the current behavior of the composite indexes suggests that economic growth will likely be moderate in the near term.

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

With the 0.7 percent increase in December, The Conference Board LEI for Australia now stands at 121.3 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in November and increased 0.7 percent in October. During the six-month period through December, the leading economic index increased 2.3 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 December.  The increases – in order from the larger positive contributor to the smaller – occurred in household gross disposable income* and employed persons.  Retail trade declined, while industrial production* remained unchanged in December.

Holding steady in December, The Conference Board CEI for Australia now stands at 118.3 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in November and increased 0.1 percent in October.  During the six-month period through December, the coincident economic index increased 1.1 percent, with two of the four components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 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 February 22, 2011.  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.

Effective with the February 26, 2009 release, the seasonally adjusted retail trade data replaced the trend estimated series, the publication of which was suspended by the Australia Bureau of Statistics.

THESE DATA ARE FOR ANALYSIS PURPOSES ONLY. NOT FOR REDISTRIBUTION, PUBLISHING, DATABASING, OR PUBLIC POSTING WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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