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Released: Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for the U.K. increased 0.4 percent, and the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in July.

  • The leading index increased in July, following three consecutive declines. In addition, the strengths and weakness among the leading indicators have been somewhat balanced in recent months. Despite July’s increase, which offset June’s decline, the leading index has been declining in recent months at about a -1.0 to -2.0 percent annual rate, well below the peak growth rate of almost 7.0 percent reached by mid-2004.
  • The coincident index increased slightly again in July. Although the coincident index continues growing at about a 1.0 percent annual rate, its growth has moderated since mid 2004. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed to a 1.7 percent average annual rate in the first half of 2005 (including a 1.9 percent rate in the second quarter). Real GDP has increased at a 1.8 percent average rate over the last three quarters, down from a 3.7 percent average rate in the previous four quarters. The behavior of the leading index in recent months suggests that economic growth is likely to remain sluggish in the near term.
  • Leading Indicators.Six of the eight components that make up the leading index increased in July. The positive contributors – from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – were the fixed interest price index, stock prices, order book volume, productivity for the whole economy*, volume of expected output, and operating surplus of corporations*. Consumer confidence and new orders for engineering industries* declined in July.

    With the 0.4 percent decline in July, the leading index now stands at 133.1 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.4 percent in June and declined 0.6 percent in May. During the six-month span through July, the leading index declined 0.6 percent, with four of the eight components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

    Coincident Indicators.Two of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in July. The positive contributors – from the larger positive contributor to the smaller – were employment*, and real household disposable income*. Industrial production and retail sales declined in July.

    With the increase of 0.1 percent in July, the coincident index now stands at 115.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in June and increased 0.1 percent in May. During the six-month period through July, the coincident index increased 0.3 percent, with two of the four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 62.5 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 13, 2005. 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, 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.


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