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Benchmark Revisions - May 2008

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Released: Monday, June 16, 2003

The Conference Board announced today that both the leading and coincident indexes remained unchanged in April.

  • Declining oil prices kept the leading index from increasing in April, as they also did in March. The opposite occurred from December to February when rising oil prices kept the leading index from declining. The leading index has been flat since late last year because these fluctuations have offset the contributions from the other components.
  •  Despite this flatness, it appears that strength is beginning to build in the leading index as reflected by two consecutive increases in the six-month growth rate. The six-month diffusion index, which measures the proportion of the leading index components that are rising, has picked up to 83.3 percent from 0.0 percent late last year.
  •  The coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, was unchanged in April. While both indexes are still consistent with sluggish growth, there are signs that positive momentum is beginning to build.

Leading Indicators. One of the six components that make up the leading index decreased in April. The negative contributor to the index is the U.S. refiners’ acquisition cost of domestic and imported crude oil. The positive contributors to the index – from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – are net insufficient inventories, stock prices, the real exchange rate, and the federal funds rate. The industrial production-construction component* was unchanged.

The leading index now stands at 105.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.1 percent in March and was flat in February. During the six-month span through April, the index increased 0.6 percent, with five of the six components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 83.3 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Three of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in April. The positive contributors to the index – from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – are industrial production, the number of people employed (measured by IMSS beneficiaries), and retail sales*. The negative contributor to the index was the inverted unemployment rate.

The coincident index now stands at 113.2 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in March and increased 0.1 percent in February. During the six-month span through April, the index was unchanged, with two of the four components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

Data Availability. The data series used to compute the two composite indexes reported in the tables in this release are those available “as of” 5 P.M. (MEX) June 12, 2003. Some series are estimated as noted below.

*Notes: Series in the leading index based on The Conference Board estimates are industrial production - construction component. The series in the coincident index based on The Conference Board estimates are retail sales.

THESE DATA ARE FOR ANALYSIS PURPOSES ONLY. NOT FOR REDISTRIBUTION, PUBLISHING, DATABASING, OR PUBLIC POSTING WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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