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Released: Friday, February 20, 2004

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Mexico increased 0.3 percent and the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in December.

  • The leading index continued on an upward trend in December. The leading index has increased at a 4.6 percent annual rate since its most recent low in September, but a large part of this is from rising oil prices. More generally, the leading index has been increasing at a 1.5 to 2.0 percent annual rate over the last year, and this growth has been widespread.
  • Real GDP increased at a 5.7 percent annual rate (preliminary) in the fourth quarter, but GDP growth has been extremely volatile from quarter to quarter. Nonetheless, the trend has been improving – from a 1.2 percent average rate in the first half of 2003 to 2.7 percent in the second half. The continued growth of the leading index is signaling that this recent average rate of economic growth should persist or even strengthen slightly in the near term.

Leading Indicators. Two of the six components that make up the leading index increased in November. The positive contributors to the index—from the larger positive contributor to the smaller one—are US refiners acquisition cost of domestic and imported crude oil, and stock prices. The (inverted) real exchange rate and the (inverted) federal funds rate declined, while net insufficient inventories and the industrial production construction component* held steady in December.

With the 0.3 percent increase in December, the leading index now stands at 107.0 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.4 percent in November and increased 0.5 percent in October. During the six-month span through December, the index increased 0.8 percent, with four of the six components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 66.7 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Only one of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in December. The positive contributor was the (inverted) unemployment rate. The number of people employed (measured by IMSS beneficiaries) and industrial production declined, while retail sales* remained unchanged in December.

With the 0.2 percent increase in December, the coincident index now stands at 113.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in November and increased 0.3 percent in October. During the six-month span through December, the index decreased 0.1 percent, with one of the four components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 25.0 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” 10 A.M. February 19, 2004. 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 industrial production and 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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