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Released: Friday, March 19, 2004

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Mexico increased 0.6 percent and the coincident index decreased 0.3 percent in January.

  • The leading index continued increasing in January, and has now increased at about a 3.5 percent annual rate from its most recent low in September 2003 (and by almost 2 percent over the last year). The growth in the leading index in recent months also has been widespread. The coincident index declined moderately in January, and it has been fluctuating around a flat trend since early 2002.
  • Real GDP has been extremely volatile from quarter to quarter, but the trend growth rate has been improving steadily – from a -1.0 percent average rate in the second half of 2002 to 1.2 percent in the first half of 2003 and 2.8 percent in the second half. The more rapid growth of the leading index in recent months suggests some further improvement in the rate of economic growth during the first half of 2004.

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

With the 0.6 percent increase in January, the leading index now stands at 107.2 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in December and increased 0.3 percent in November. During the six-month span through January, 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 January. The positive contributor was retail sales*. Industrial production, the (inverted) unemployment rate and the number of people employed (measured by IMSS beneficiaries) declined in January.

With the 0.3 percent decrease in January, the coincident index now stands at 113.1 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in December and increased 0.1 percent in November. During the six-month span through January, the index decreased 0.2 percent, 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” 10 A.M. March 18, 2004. Some series are estimated as noted below.

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