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Benchmark Revisions - May 2008

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Released: Monday, June 23, 2008

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Mexico increased 2.3 percent and the coincident index increased 0.3 percent in April.

  • The leading index increased sharply in April, and March's large increase was revised down as new data for the construction component of industrial production became available. In April, the oil price and net insufficient inventories components continued to make the largest positive contributions for the second consecutive month. The stock price index was the only negative contributor to the index. During the six-month span through April, the leading index rose 2.8 percent (about a 5.6 percent annual rate), the same growth rate that prevailed over the second half of 2007. However, the weaknesses and strengths among the leading indicators have been roughly balanced in recent months.
  • The coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, increased modestly in April, and there were upward revisions to the level of the index as a result of revised data for industrial production. But, the March gain was revised down also as a result of the revised figures for industrial production. Since October, the coincident index has increased by 0.7 percent (about a 1.3 percent annual rate), after slowing down gradually in the first quarter. In addition, the strengths among the coincident indicators have remained more widespread than weaknesses in recent months.
  • The leading index grew steadily throughout most of 2007, and after declining late in 2007 through early this year, it resumed growing. At the same time, the coincident index has been on a slightly increasing trend since the second quarter of 2007, after a brief pause in the first quarter of 2007. Real GDP grew at about a 2.1 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2008, down from a 4.2 percent average annual rate in the third and fourth quarters of 2007. The recent behavior of the leading and coincident indexes suggests that the economy should continue expanding, and may even pick up somewhat in the near term.

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

With the 2.3 percent increase in April, the leading index now stands at 173.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.8 percent in March and increased 2.1 percent in February. During the six-month span through April, the index increased 2.8 percent, with three of the six components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. Two of the three components that make up the coincident index increased in April. The positive contributors — from the largest positive contributor to the smallest one — are industrial production, and number of people employed (measured by IMSS beneficiaries)*. Retail sales*declined in April.

With the increase of 0.3 percent in April, the coincident index now stands at 168.9 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.8 percent in March and increased 0.8 percent in February. During the six-month span through April, the index increased 0.7 percent, with two of the three components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 83.3 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. June 19, 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. The series in the coincident index based on The Conference Board estimates include employment 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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