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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for Australia increased 0.2 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) increased 0.4 percent in March.

  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia increased slightly in March following no change in February. Rural goods exports and money supply made the largest contributions to the gain this month. Despite the small increase, the leading economic index declined by 0.5 percent, (about a -0.9 percent annual rate) between September 2011 and March 2012, a reversal from the 2.3 percent increase (about a 4.7 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 increased in March. Between September 2011 and March 2012, the coincident economic index increased by 0.9 percent (about a 1.9 percent annual rate), slightly up from a 0.5 percent increase (about a 1.0 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 increased slightly in March, but it has not yet fully recovered from a series of declines through December and its six-month growth has remained negative since November. Meanwhile, The Conference Board CEI for Australia continued on its slightly rising trend which started in mid-2011, and the rate of growth has remained fairly stable so far. Taken together, despite some rising risks highlighted by the leading indicators in exports and housing sectors, 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 March.  The positive contributors to the index — in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest — are rural goods exports, money supply*, gross operating surplus*, and the sales to inventories ratio*.  The yield spread and building approvals declined, while stock prices remained unchanged in March.  

With the 0.2 percent increase in March, The Conference Board LEI for Australia now stands at 126.2 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in February and increased 1.1 percent in January. During the six-month period through March, the leading economic index decreased 0.5 percent, and three of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 42.9 percent).

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

With the increase of 0.4 percent in March, The Conference Board CEI for Australia now stands at 119.9 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in February and increased 0.3 percent in January.  During the six-month period through March, the coincident economic index increased 0.9 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 May 22, 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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