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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Monday, March 19, 2012

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for Australia increased 1.1 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) increased 0.2 percent in January.

  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia increased sharply in January following four consecutive declines, and there were downward revisions to the index to the previous four months, as actual data for the quarterly gross operating surplus and sales to inventories ratio components became available. Building approvals made the largest positive contribution to the index this month. Despite the gain in January, the leading economic index declined by 0.4 percent (about a -0.8 percent annual rate) between July 2011 and January 2012, substantially below the 3.0 percent increase (about a 6.1 percent annual rate) during the previous six months.  In addition, the weaknesses among the leading indicators have become more widespread than the strengths in the last six months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for Australia, a measure of current economic activity, also increased in January. In the six-month period ending January 2012, the coincident economic index increased by 0.6 percent (about a 1.2 percent annual rate), slightly up from 0.2 percent (about 0.3 percent annual rate) in the previous six months. At the same time, real GDP increased by 1.7 percent (annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2011, down from the 3.2 percent (annual rate) growth in the third quarter of 2011.
  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia increased sharply in January after declining in the previous four months, but the six-month growth in the index has been negative since November 2011. Meanwhile, The Conference Board CEI for Australia has been growing on a slightly rising trend since mid-2011, and the rate of growth has remained fairly stable so far. Taken together, the recent behavior of the composite indexes suggests that current moderate economic growth is likely to continue in the near term.

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

With the 1.1 percent increase in January, The Conference Board LEI for Australia now stands at 126.1 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index declined 0.3 percent in December and declined 1.0 percent in November. During the six-month period through January, the leading economic index decreased 0.4 percent, and two of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 28.6 percent).

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

With the increase of 0.2 percent in January, The Conference Board CEI for Australia now stands at 119.0 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.2 percent in December and remained unchanged in November.  During the six-month period through January, the coincident economic index increased 0.6 percent, with all four components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100.0 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 March 16, 2012.  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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