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Released: Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for Japan decreased 0.4 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) decreased 0.1 percent in March.

    The Conference Board LEI for Japan decreased in March, after no change in February. Negative contributions from the number of business failures, the six-month growth rate of labor productivity, and the index of overtime worked prompted the decline. Nevertheless, the leading economic index increased by 0.4 percent (about a 0.8 percent annual rate) from September 2014 to March 2015, a reversal from its contraction of 1.9 percent (about a −3.8 percent annual rate) over the prior six months. Moreover, the strengths among the leading indicators continue to be more widespread than the weaknesses.
  • The Conference Board CEI for Japan, a measure of current economic activity, edged down in March. However, the coincident economic index increased by 0.5 percent (about a 1.0 percent annual rate) between September 2014 and March 2015, after declining by 1.7 percent (about a −3.4 percent annual rate), over the preceding six months. In addition, the strengths among the coincident indicators continue to be very widespread. At the same time, real GDP expanded by 1.5 percent (annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2014, after contracting by 2.6 percent (annual rate) in the third quarter.
  • The Conference Board LEI for Japan decreased in March. The growth of the LEI, while considerably improved compared to six months ago, has weakened in recent months. Similarly, the six-month growth rate of the CEI remains in positive territory, but has also slowed in March. Taken together, the behavior of both indexes suggests that the recovery in current economic activity will continue, but growth is unlikely to accelerate in the short-term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Seven of the ten components that make up The Conference Board LEI for Japan increased in March. The positive contributors to the index – in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – include the Tankan business conditions survey, dwelling units started, stock prices, the interest rate spread, real operating profits*, the new orders for machinery and construction component*, and real money supply. The negative contributors – in order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest – include (inverted) business failures, the six-month growth rate of labor productivity and the index of overtime worked.

With the decrease of 0.4 percent in March, The Conference Board LEI for Japan now stands at 103.1 (2010=100). Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in February and decreased 0.1 percent in January. During the six-month span through March, the index increased 0.4 percent, and eight of the ten components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 80.0 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. Only one of the four components that make up The Conference Board CEI for Japan increased in March. The positive contributor to the index was the retail, wholesale, and manufacturing sales* component. Number of employed persons and industrial production declined, while wage and salary income was unchanged in March.

With the decrease of 0.1 percent in March, The Conference Board CEI for Japan now stands at 98.3 (2010=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.3 percent in February and increased 0.5 percent in January. During the six-month span through March, the index increased 0.5 percent, and all four components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100.0 percent).

DATA AVAILABILITY AND NOTES.

The data series used to compute The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for Japan and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for Japan reported in this release are those available “as of” 9:00 P.M. ET May 8, 2015. Some series are estimated as noted below.

The series in The Conference Board LEI that are based on our estimates are the six-month growth rate of labor productivity, real operating profits and new orders for machinery. The series in The Conference Board CEI that is based on our estimates is real manufacturing sales.

Professional Contacts at The Conference Board:

Indicator Program: indicators@conference-board.org

Media Contacts:

Carol Courter:
1 212 339 0232
carol.courter@conference-board.org

Jonathan Liu:
1 212 339 0257
Jonathan.liu@conference-board.org

©The Conference Board 2013. All data contained in this table are protected by United States and international copyright laws. The data displayed are provided for informational purposes only and may only be accessed, reviewed, and/or used in with the permission accordance of The Conference Board consistent with a subscriber or license agreement and the Terms of Use displayed on our website at www.conference-board.org. The data and analysis contained herein may not be used, redistributed, published, or posted by any means without express written permission from The Conference Board.

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