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Benchmark Revisions - May 2008

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Released: Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Mexico declined 0.1 percent and the coincident index decreased 0.1 percent in January.

  • The leading index continued to decline in January, its third consecutive monthly decline. In January, a large positive contribution from oil prices was more than offset by declines in stock prices, net insufficient inventories (inverted), and the real exchange rate. The leading index increased by 1.6 percent (about a 3.3 percent annual growth rate) during the six-month span through January, slowing down from the six-month growth rate of 4.1 percent (about an 8.3 percent annual rate) during the period from January 2007 to July 2007. The weaknesses among the leading indicators have been more widespread than the strengths in recent months.
  • The coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, declined in January (its first decline since September 2007) following no change in December. In January, all four components that comprise the index fell. Nonetheless, the coincident index increased by 0.4 percent (about a 0.8 percent annual growth rate) between July 2007 and January 2008, down from an increase of 0.8 percent (about a 1.6 percent annual growth rate) between January 2007 and July 2007. The weaknesses among the coincident indicators have also become more widespread than strengths in recent months.
  • Following a slight decline in the second half of 2006, the leading index grew steadily since the beginning of 2007, but it has declined modestly over the past three months. Since the beginning of 2007, the coincident index continued to increase, but at a slower rate. Real GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2007 was about 3.0 percent, down from about a 5.0 to 5.5 percent rate in the second and third quarters. The recent behavior of the leading and coincident indexes suggests that moderate economic growth should continue in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Two of the six components that make up the leading index increased in January. The positive contributors to the index — from the largest positive contributor to the smallest one — are the US refiners' acquisition cost of domestic and imported crude oil, and the industrial production construction component*. Stock prices, net insufficient inventories and the (inverted) real exchange rate decreased in January. The (inverted) federal funds rate remained unchanged.

With the 0.1 percent decrease in January, the leading index now stands at 168.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.7 percent in December and declined 0.2 percent in November. During the six-month span through January, the index increased 1.6 percent, with two of the six components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 33.3 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. None of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in January. The (inverted) unemployment rate, number of people employed (measured by IMSS beneficiaries)*, retail sales* and industrial production all contributed negatively.

With the decrease of 0.1 percent in January, the coincident index now stands at 119.9 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in December and increased 0.2 percent in November. During the six-month span through January, the index increased 0.4 percent, with one component increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 37.5 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 11, 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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