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Released: Thursday, October 13, 2005

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

  • The leading index increased slightly in August, and there were small upward revisions to the previous few months as actual data for the total gross operating surplus component for the second quarter of 2005 became available. Despite the small increase in August, 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. However, the strength in the leading index in the most recent months has become more widespread.
  • The coincident index also increased slightly in August, and it remains on a flat to slightly rising trend since mid 2004. Industrial production, a component of the coincident index, fell again in August, offsetting the gains in the other components. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed to a 1.5 percent average annual rate in the first half of 2005 (including a 1.9 percent rate in the second quarter), down from a 2.5 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 August. The positive contributors – from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – were volume of expected output, stock prices, consumer confidence, the fixed interest price index, productivity for the whole economy*, and operating surplus of corporations*. Order book volume declined, while new orders for engineering industries* was unchanged in August.

    With the 0.1 percent increase in August, the leading index now stands at 133.7 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.5 percent in July and declined 0.4 percent in June. During the six-month span through August, 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 August. The positive contributors – from the larger positive contributor to the smaller – were employment* and real household disposable income*. Industrial production declined, while retail sales remained unchanged in August.

    With the increase of 0.1 percent in August, the coincident index now stands at 116.1 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index was unchanged in July and increased 0.3 percent in June. During the six-month period through August, the coincident index increased 0.5 percent, with three of the four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0 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 12, 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.

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

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