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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

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

  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia was unchanged in February, following a sharp increase in January. A large positive contribution from building approvals was offset by a large negative contribution from rural goods exports. Between August 2011 and February 2012, the leading economic index declined by 1.3 percent (about a -2.6 percent annual rate), substantially below the 3.9 percent increase (about an 8.0 percent annual rate) during the previous six months.  In addition, the weaknesses among the leading indicators have been more widespread than the strengths in recent months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for Australia, a measure of current economic activity, also remained flat in February. In the six-month period ending February 2012, the coincident economic index increased by 0.5 percent (about a 1.0 percent annual rate), slightly up from 0.3 percent (about a 0.7 percent annual rate) for 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 was unchanged in February, and has declined for four of the last six months. As a result, the six-month growth rate for the index continued to decline through February. 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 moderate economic growth is likely to continue in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS.  Four 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 building approvals, share prices, gross operating surplus*, and money supply*.  Rural goods exports, the yield spread, and the sales to inventories ratio* declined in February.  

Holding steady in February, The Conference Board LEI for Australia now stands at 126.0 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 1.0 percent in January and declined 0.4 percent in December. During the six-month period through February, the leading economic index decreased 1.3 percent, and three of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 42.9 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS.  Two of the four components in The Conference Board CEI for Australia increased in February.  The increases occurred in household gross disposable income* and industrial production*.  Employed persons and retail trade declined in February.

Holding steady in February, The Conference Board CEI for Australia now stands at 119.1 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in January and decreased 0.2 percent in December.  During the six-month period through February, the coincident economic index increased 0.5 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 April 24, 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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