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Benchmark Revisions - September 2007

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Released: Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Spain declined 0.4 percent and the coincident index increased 0.3 percent in July.

  • The leading index decreased again in July, declining for the fourth time in the past five months. Large declines in the capital equipment component of industrial production, job placings and the order book survey offset a large increase in the Spanish contribution to Euro M2. Since January, the leading index has declined by 2.3 percent (about a -4.5 percent annual rate), well below the 2.2 percent annual rate of increase which prevailed between July 2007 and January 2008. In addition, the weaknesses among the leading indicators have remained consistently widespread in recent months.
  • The coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, increased in July following four consecutive declines. In July, a large increase in the retail sales survey more than offset a modest decline in industrial production excluding construction. Since January, the coincident index has declined by 0.4 percent (about a -0.8 percent annual rate), significantly below the 0.9 percent annual rate of increase for the previous six months. Additionally, the strengths among the coincident indicators ha ve been slightly more widespread than the weaknesses in recent months.
  • Since February, the leading index has begun to fall after slowing in the second half of 2007, following three years of steady growth. The deterioration in the index over the past six months is the sharpest since its 1992-93 decline. Meanwhile, the coincident index has remained essentially flat during the past year. At the same time, real GDP growth declined sharply — from a 2.5 percent average annual rate during the second half of 2007 to a 1.0 percent average annual rate during the first half of 2008 (including a 0.6 percent annual rate for the second quarter). Taken together, the recent behavior of the composite indexes suggests that the risks for economic weakness in the near-term remain elevated.

LEADING INDICATORS. One of the six components that make up the leading index increased in September. The only positive contributor was the Spanish contribution to Euro M2. The negative contributors —in order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest—are the capital equipment component of industrial production, job placings, order books survey, the Spanish equity price index and the inverted long-term government bond yield.

With the decrease of 0.4 percent in July, the leading index now stands at 154.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.4 percent in June and declined 0.7 percent in May. During the six-month span through July, the index decreased 2.3 percent, and one of the six components advanced (diffusion index, six- month span equals 16.7 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. Four of the five components that make up the coincident index increased in July. The positive contributors — in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest — are retail sales survey, final household consumption*, real imports* and employment*. Industrial production excluding construction declined in July.

With the increase of 0.3 percent in July, the coincident index now stands at 158.1 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.3 percent in June and decreased 0.2 percent in May. During the six-month span through July, the index decreased -0.4 percent, and three of the five components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 60.0 percent).

DATA AVAILABILITY. The data series used to compute the two composite indexes reported in the tables in this release are those ava ilable "as of" 10 A.M. (ET) September 12, 2008. Some series are estimated as noted below.

NOTES: Series in the coincident index based on The Conference Board estimates include final household consumption, employment and real imports. There are no series in the leading index based on The Confe rence Board estimates.

THESE DATA ARE FOR ANALYSIS PURPOSES ONLY. NOT FOR REDISTRIBUTION, PUBLISHING, DATABASING, OR PUBLIC POSTING WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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