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Benchmark Revisions - May 2008

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Released: Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Mexico declined 0.2 percent and the coincident index remained unchanged in December.

  • The leading index declined in December after increasing in the previous three months, and it was revised down to a small increase in November as new data became available for the net insufficient inventories component. In December, positive contributions from real exchange rate (inverted) and the construction component of industrial production were more than offset by negative contributions from net insufficient inventories, stock prices and oil prices. The six-month growth rate of the leading index stands at 3.9 percent (about an 8.0 percent annual rate) during the six-month span through December, about the same as the average growth rate in mid-2007. The strengths among the leading indicators have remained somewhat more widespread than weaknesses in recent months.
  • The coincident index remained unchanged in December. The six-month growth rate of the coincident index stands at 0.7 percent (an approximately 1.4 percent average annual growth rate) during the six-month span through December. In addition, the strengths among the coincident indicators have remained more widespread than weaknesses in recent months.
  • Following a slight decline in the second half of 2006, the leading index has grown steadily since the end of the first quarter in 2007. During the same period, the coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, has continued to increase, but at a slower rate. At the same time, real GDP growth picked up to a 5.9 percent average annual rate in the third quarter of 2007, up from about a 3.4 percent average annual rate in the first half of the year. The recent behavior of the leading and coincident indexes so far still suggests moderate to strong economic growth should continue in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Two 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 — are the (inverted) real exchange rate and the industrial production construction component*. The negative contributors to the index — from the largest negative contributor to the smallest — are net insufficient inventories, stock prices and the US refiners' acquisition cost of domestic and imported crude oil. The (inverted) federal funds rate remained unchanged.

With the 0.2 percent decrease in December, the leading index now stands at 169.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in November and increased 1.9 percent in October. During the six-month span through December, the index increased 3.9 percent, with four of the six components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 66.7 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. One of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in December. The only positive contributor was the unemployment rate (inverted). The negative contributors to the index — from the largest negative contributor to the smallest — are number of people employed (measured by IMSS beneficiaries)*, industrial production, and retail sales*.

Remaining unchanged in December, the coincident index now stands at 120.1 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in November and increased 0.3 percent in October. During the six-month span through December, the index increased 0.7 percent, with three of the four components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0 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 12, 2008. Some series are estimated as noted below.

NOTES: Series in the leading index based on The Conference Board estimates include industrial production — construction component — and net insufficient inventories. 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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