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Global Business Cycle Indicators


Press Release Archive

Released: Tuesday, September 16, 2003

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for the U.K. held steady, and the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in July.

  • Although unchanged in July, the leading index has been increasing moderately since reaching a low in March. Moreover, the six-month growth rate has picked up from a 2.3 percent decline in March to a 0.2 percent increase in July.
  • The coincident index has been increasing moderately since the beginning of the year. The improvement has also been widespread, with every component making a positive contribution over the last three to six months.
  • The moderately rising trend of the leading index in recent months is consistent with a slight pickup in economic growth in the near term. However, the historical relationships suggest that the leading index would have to increase more rapidly in order to signal a period of very strong economic growth.

Leading Indicators. Three of the nine components that make up the leading index increased in July. The positive contributors – from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – were volume of expected output, consumer confidence, and productivity for the whole economy*. The four negative contributors to the index – beginning with the largest negative contributor – were order book volume, fixed interest price index, stock prices, and new orders for engineering industries*. Operating surplus of corporations* and housing starts* were unchanged in July.

Holding steady in July, the leading index now stands at 124.6 (1990=100). This index increased 0.4 percent in June and 0.6 percent in May. During the six-month span through July, the leading index decreased 0.2 percent with five of the nine components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 55.6 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Three of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in July. Employment* was the largest positive contributor, followed by real household disposable income*, and industrial production. Retail sales declined in July.

With a 0.1 percent increase in July, the coincident index now stands at 114.6 (1990=100). This index increased 0.3 percent in June and held steady in May. During the six-month period through July, the coincident index increased 0.8 percent, with all four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100 percent).

Data Availability. The data series used by The Conference Board to compute the two composite indexes reported in the tables in this release are those available “as of” 10 A.M. ET on September 15, 2003. Some series are estimated as noted below.

*Notes: Series in the leading index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are new orders in engineering industries, productivity of the whole economy, housing starts, and operating surplus of corporations. Series in the coincident index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are employment and real household disposable income.