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Released: Wednesday, October 15, 2003

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for the U.K. increased 0.3 percent, and the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in August.

  • The 0.3 percent increase in the leading index for August offset the downward revised 0.3 percent decline in July. Although interrupted by July’s decline, the leading index has been increasing moderately (about a 3.1 percent annual rate) since reaching a low in March, and the pickup has been widespread. The coincident index has been increasing moderately since the beginning of the year, and this growth has also been widespread.
  • The moderately rising trend of the leading index since March is consistent with moderate economic growth in the near term. However, the leading index would have to increase more rapidly than its recent growth rate to signal a period of strong economic growth.

Leading Indicators. Five of the nine components that make up the leading index increased in August. The positive contributors – from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – were order book volume, stock prices, productivity for the whole economy*, fixed interest price index, and housing starts*. New orders for engineering industries* declined in August, while operating surplus of corporations*, volume of expected output, and consumer confidence were unchanged in August.

With the 0.3 percent increase in August, the leading index now stands at 124.7 (1990=100). This index decreased 0.3 percent in July and increased 0.5 percent in June. During the six-month span through August, the leading index increased 0.9 percent with seven of the nine components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 77.8 percent).

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

With the 0.1 percent increase in August, the coincident index now stands at 114.8 (1990=100). This index increased 0.1 percent in July and increased 0.2 percent in June. During the six-month period through August, the coincident index increased 0.8 percent, with three of the four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75 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 October 14, 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.

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

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