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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index®(LEI) for Australia increased 0.1 percent while The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index ®(CEI) declined 0.1 percent in April.

  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia increased slightly in April, but there were sharp downward revisions to the index for the previous several months. The actual data for sales-to-inventories ratio and gross operating surplus for the first quarter of 2011 became available, and both components made large negative contributions to the index in recent months. As a result, the six-month change in the leading economic index became negative — it stands at -0.6 percent (a -1.2 percent annual rate) in the period through April 2011, down from 2.4 percent (a 4.8 percent annual rate) for the previous six months. Nevertheless, the strengths among the leading indicators have remained more widespread than the weaknesses in recent months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for Australia, a measure of current economic activity, declined slightly in April. However, there were small upward revisions to the index in recent months as actual data for household gross disposable income for the first quarter of 2011 became available. Still, the six-month change in the coincident economic index continued to fall — to 0.1 percent (a 0.2 percent annual rate) for the period ending in April 2011, down from 1.3 percent (a 2.6 percent annual rate) for the previous six months. At the same time, real GDP contracted by 4.7 percent (annual rate) in the first quarter of this year, down from the increase of 3.3 percent annual rate in the last quarter of 2010.
  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia increased slightly in April, following three consecutive declines, and its six-month change has turned negative for the first time since mid-2009. At the same time, The Conference Board CEI for Australia has essentially been flat, with its six-month growth rate slowing significantly from last year. Taken together, the current behavior of the composite indexes suggests that economic activity will likely be slow in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Four 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, yield spread, money supply*, and rural goods exports. The sales-to-inventories ratio*, gross operating surplus*, and share prices declined in April.

With the 0.1 percent increase in April, The Conference Board LEI for Australia now stands at 119.3 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.1 percent in March and declined 0.2 percent in February. During the six-month period through April, the leading economic index decreased 0.6 percent, and five of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 71.4 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 – occurred in household gross disposable income* and retail trade. Employed persons and industrial production* declined in April.

With the decrease of 0.1 percent in April, The Conference Board CEI for Australia now stands at 117.9 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in March and remained unchanged in February. During the six-month period through April, the coincident economic index increased 0.1 percent, with two of 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 June 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.

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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