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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Monday, May 20, 2013

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

  • The Conference Board LEI for Australia increased slightly in March for the third consecutive month. Gains from building approvals, money supply, and the yield spread more than offset a negative contribution from stock prices. With this month’s small gain, the leading economic index increased 0.4 percent (about a 0.8 percent annual rate) in the six-month period ending March 2013, up from its decline of 1.5 percent (about a -3.0 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. Additionally, the strengths among the leading indicators have been more widespread than the weaknesses in the last six months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for Australia, a measure of current economic activity, also increased in March. Between September 2012 and March 2013, the coincident economic index increased 0.9 percent (about a 1.8 percent annual rate), up from the 0.4 percent increase (about a 0.8 percent annual rate) for the previous six months. Moreover, the strengths among the coincident indicators have been very widespread, as all coincident indicators have risen over the last six months. Meanwhile, real GDP increased at a 2.4 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2012, slightly down from the 2.6 percent (annual rate) in the third quarter of the year.
  • The LEI for Australia has been increasing slightly in the first three months of 2013, and its six-month growth has also picked up somewhat. Meanwhile, the flat to slightly upward trend in the CEI continued through March, and its six-month grow rate has also improved from the second half of last year. Taken together, the recent behavior in both the LEI and CEI and their components suggests that the rate of economic expansion is likely to pick up slightly in the coming months.  

LEADING INDICATORS.  Five 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 building approvals, money supply*, the yield spread, rural goods exports, and gross operating surplus*. Share prices and the sales to inventories ratio* declined in March.  

With the 0.1 percent increase in March, The Conference Board LEI for Australia now stands at 122.4 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in February and increased 0.1 percent in January. During the six-month period through March, the leading economic index increased 0.4 percent, and five of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 71.4 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS.  Three of the 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 retail trade, household gross disposable income*, and industrial production*.  Employed persons declined in March.

With the increase of 0.2 percent in March, The Conference Board CEI for Australia now stands at 122.5 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.5 percent in February and increased 0.2 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 19, 2013.  Some series are estimated as noted below.

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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