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Released: Monday, April 14, 2014

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for Korea increased 0.1 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for Korea increased 0.3 percent in February.

  • The Conference Board LEI for Korea increased in February, after two consecutive months of decline. Value of machinery orders made the largest positive contribution. The leading economic index increased by 1.2 percent (about a 2.3 percent annual rate) between August 2013 and February 2014, a reversal from its contraction of 0.3 percent (about a -0.7 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. Additionally, the strengths among the leading indicators have remained more widespread than the weaknesses in recent months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for Korea, a measure of current economic activity, also improved. In the six-month period ending in February 2014, the coincident economic index grew by 1.5 percent (about a 3.1 percent annual rate), slightly faster than the 1.2 percent increase (about a 2.4 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. At the same time, real GDP grew at a 3.6 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2013, down from 4.4 percent (annual rate) in the prior quarter.  
  • The LEI for Korea has been essentially flat for more than two years despite month-to-month volatility. Although the six-month change in the LEI remained positive in February, the rate of growth is down from the last quarter of 2013. Meanwhile, The CEI for Korea improved in February, and its six-month growth rate increased slightly. Taken together, the somewhat subdued growth in both the LEI and CEI in recent months continues to suggest that the rate of economic growth is unlikely to improve rapidly in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Three of the seven components that make up The Conference Board LEI for Korea increased in February. The positive contributors – from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – were value of machinery orders, the (inverted) yield of government public bonds and real exports FOB.  Negative contributors – from the largest negative contributor to the smallest – were the (inverted) index of inventories to shipments, letter of credit arrivals, private construction orders, and stock prices.

With the 0.1 percent increase in February, The Conference Board LEI for Korea now stands at 121.2 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 1.1 percent in January and declined 0.4 percent in December. Over the six-month span through February, the leading economic index increased 1.2 percent, with five of the seven components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 71.4 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. Three of the four components that make up The Conference Board CEI for Korea increased in February. The positive contributors – in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – were total employment, the wholesale and retail sales component and monthly cash earnings*. Only industrial production declined in February.

With the 0.3 percent increase in February, The Conference Board CEI for Korea now stands at 118.5 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.7 percent in January and decreased 0.1 percent in December. During the six-month span through February, the coincident economic index increased 1.5 percent, with all four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100.0 percent).

DATA AVAILABILITY. The data series used to compute The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for Korea reported in this release are those available “as of” 10 A.M. (ET) on April 11, 2014.

* The series in the coincident economic index based on The Conference Board’s estimates is monthly cash earnings.  There is no forecasted series in the leading economic index.

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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