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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Monday, April 25, 2011

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for Australia increased 0.6 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) remained unchanged in February.

  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia increased in February, following a small gain in January. Rural goods exports increased sharply in February after staying essentially flat for the past several months, while building approvals continued to decline.  With this month’s gain, the six-month growth rate of the Leading Economic Index stands at 2.3 percent (a 4.8 percent annual rate) in the period through February 2011, down from 3.2 percent (a 6.5 percent annual rate) for the previous six months. However, the strengths among the leading indicators have become more widespread than the weaknesses over the past six months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for Australia, a measure of current economic activity, was unchanged in February. The Coincident Economic Index grew by 0.3 percent (a 0.5 percent annual rate) from August 2010 to February 2011, down from 1.4 percent (a 2.8 percent annual rate) for the previous six months. At the same time, real GDP grew at a 3.0 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2010, up from the 0.5 percent increase (annual rate) in the third quarter.
  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia continued to rise steadily through February, and its six-month change has been fluctuating around 2.0 percent growth in recent months. At the same time, The Conference Board CEI for Australia has been essentially flat since last September, and its six-month growth rate has continued to slow.  Taken together, the current behavior of the composite indexes suggests that the expansion in economic activity will likely be moderate in the near term.

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

With the 0.6 percent increase in February, The Conference Board LEI for Australia now stands at 122.0 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in January and increased 0.7 percent in December. During the six-month period through February, the leading economic index increased 2.3 percent, and five of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 85.7 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS.  Two of the four components in The Conference Board CEI for Australia increased in February.  The increases – from the larger positive contributor – occurred in household gross disposable income* and retail trade.  Industrial production* remained unchanged while employed persons declined in February.

Holding steady in February, The Conference Board CEI for Australia now stands at 117.9 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in January and decreased 0.1 percent in December.  During the six-month period through February, the coincident economic index increased 0.3 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 April 21, 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.

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

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