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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Thursday, September 20, 2012

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

  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia was unchanged in July following two consecutive increases. Upward revisions were made to the index from March to June as actual data for the quarterly sales to inventory ratio and gross operating surplus became available. In July, the gains in stock prices and money supply* were offset by negative contributions from rural goods exports*, the yield spread, and building approvals. The six-month change in the leading economic index has turned slightly negative, contracting by 0.2 percent (about a -0.5 percent annual rate) between January and July this year, a moderate improvement from the decline of 1.1 percent (about a -2.2 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. In addition, the strengths and weaknesses among the leading indicators have become almost balanced in the last six months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for Australia, a measure of current economic activity, increased slightly in July. Between January and July 2012, the coincident economic index increased by 0.8 percent (about a 1.7 percent annual rate), about the same rate of increase as for the previous six months. Moreover, the strengths among the coincident indicators have been more widespread than the weaknesses in recent months. At the same time, real GDP increased by 2.6 percent (annual rate) in the second quarter, down from 5.6 percent (annual rate) in the first quarter of 2012.
  • The LEI for Australia was unchanged in July after increases in the past two months. Although its six-month growth rate is slightly negative, the rate of decline has moderated in July compared to earlier this year. Meanwhile, The CEI for Australia remained on a slightly rising trend through July, and its six-month growth rate has been fairly steady since the beginning of 2012. Taken together, the recent behavior in the composite indexes suggests that economic activity will continue to grow at a moderate pace in the near term.

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

Holding steady in July, The Conference Board LEI for Australia now stands at 124.9 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.5 percent in June and increased 0.5 percent in May. During the six-month period through July, the leading economic index decreased 0.2 percent, and three of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 57.1 percent).

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

With the increase of 0.1 percent in July, The Conference Board CEI for Australia now stands at 120.4 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in June and increased 0.2 percent in May. During the six-month period through July, the coincident economic index increased 0.8 percent, with three of the four components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0 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 September 19, 2012.  Some series are estimated as noted below.

NOTE: Beginning with this release, several data series in both The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for Australia will now be provided by Haver Analytics. As a result, some data series have been revised, but these changes do not affect the overall cyclical properties of the indexes.  For more information about these changes please contact indicators@conferenceboard.org .

*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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