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Released: Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for Australia increased 0.2 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) increased 0.1 percent in June.

  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia increased slightly in June following a small gain in May.  The gains in building approvals, rural goods exports*, and money supply* more than offset negative contributions from stock prices and the yield spread. Despite the gain in June, the six-month change in the leading economic index remained negative, contracting by 0.5 percent (about a -1.0 percent annual rate) during the first half of this year,  a moderate improvement from the decline of 1.1 percent (about a -2.2 percent annual rate) during the previous six months.  The strengths and weaknesses among the leading indicators have been almost balanced in recent months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for Australia, a measure of current economic activity, also increased slightly in June. Between December 2011 and June 2012, the coincident economic index increased by 1.3 percent (about a 2.7 percent annual rate), up from a 0.7 percent increase (about a 1.4 percent annual rate) for the previous six months. Moreover, the strengths among the coincident indicators have been very widespread in recent months with all components advancing. At the same time, real GDP increased sharply in the first quarter of this year, 5.3 percent (annual rate), up from 2.5 percent (annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2011.
  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia increased in June for the second consecutive month, after declining in most of the past ten months. However, despite the recent gains, its six-month growth rate has remained in negative territory since the end of last year. Meanwhile, The Conference Board CEI for Australia remained on a slightly rising trend through June. Taken together, the recent behavior in the composite indexes continues to suggest that economic expansion will persist in the near term, but that the rate of growth is likely to moderate.

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

With the 0.2 percent increase in June, The Conference Board LEI for Australia now stands at 123.7 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in May and declined 1.2 percent in April. During the six-month period through June, 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.  Three of the four components in The Conference Board CEI for Australia increased in June.  The increases - in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – occurred in retail trade, household gross disposable income*, and industrial production*.  Employed persons declined in June.

With the increase of 0.1 percent in June, The Conference Board CEI for Australia now stands at 120.6 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in May and increased 0.3 percent in April.  During the six-month period through June, the coincident economic index increased 1.3 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 August 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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