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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Monday, October 22, 2012

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for Australia declined 0.8 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) remained unchanged in August.

  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia fell in August following no change in July.  A sharp decline in building approvals was the largest negative contributor to the index this month. Between February and August 2012, the leading economic index contracted by 0.6 percent (about a -1.1 percent annual rate), a slower decline than the 2.4 percent fall (about a -4.8 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. In addition, the strengths among the leading indicators have become more widespread than the weaknesses in the last six months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for Australia, a measure of current economic activity, was unchanged in August. The six-month growth rate of the coincident economic index increased by 0.8 percent (about a 1.5 percent annual rate), about the same rate of increase as for the previous six months. Moreover, the strengths among the coincident indicators have remained 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, following a 5.6 percent increase (annual rate) in the first quarter of 2012.
  • The LEI for Australia declined in August – the second decline in the last six months. As a result, the six-month change in the LEI remains negative, but the rate of decline has moderated compared to earlier this year. Meanwhile, the CEI for Australia was unchanged in August, but it has been on a slightly rising trend since mid-2011 and its six-month growth rate has been fairly steady. Despite the recent weakness in the LEI, the composite indexes suggest economic activity is likely to continue growing in the near term, but its pace is likely to be moderate.

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

With the 0.8 percent decrease in August, The Conference Board LEI for Australia now stands at 123.9 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in July and increased 0.6 percent in June. During the six-month period through August, the leading economic index decreased 0.6 percent, and five of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 71.4 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS.  One of the four components in The Conference Board CEI for Australia increased in August.  Household gross disposable income* made the only positive contribution to the index in August.  Employed persons and industrial production* declined, while retail trade remained unchanged in August.

Holding steady in August, The Conference Board CEI for Australia now stands at 120.4 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in July and increased 0.1 percent in June.  During the six-month period through August, 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 October 18, 2012.  Some series are estimated as noted below.

NOTE: 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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