Global Business Cycle Indicators


Press Release Archive

Released: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index®(LEI) for the U.K. increased 0.4 percent in March, after increasing 0.5 percent in February and increasing 0.4 percent in January. Four of the seven components made positive contributions to the index in March. The index now stands at 103.5 (2004=100).  

Said Jean-Claude Manini, The Conference Board Senior Economist for Europe: “The March increase in the LEI for the United Kingdom was in line with the trend over the last three months. This pattern continues to suggest moderate growth ahead, but the underlying indicators highlight the growing headwinds faced by domestic demand. The current state of economic activity, as measured by the CEI for the United Kingdom, improved slightly in March -- largely attributable to better employment numbers. The LEI for the Euro Area – the main trading partner of the United Kingdom –could become another source of concern if it continues to decline.”

The Conference Board LEI for the UK has been on a rising trend since the second quarter of 2009. Its six-month growth rate has picked up somewhat in recent months, after falling sharply in 2010.  At the same time, The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.K., a measure of current economic activity, increased 0.1 percent in March, after remaining unchanged in February and increasing 0.3 percent in January. The index now stands at 102.9 (2004 = 100).

The Conference Board LEI for the U.K. aggregates seven economic indicators that measure activity in the U.K., each of which has proven accurate on its own. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out so-called “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.

The seven components of The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.K. include:

Order Book Volume (source: Confederation of British Industry)

Volume of Expected Output (source: Confederation of British Industry)

Consumer Confidence Indicator (source: European Commission)

FTSE All-Share Index (source: FTSE Group)

Yield Spread (source: Bank of England)

Productivity, Whole Economy (Office for National Statistics)

Total Gross Operating Surplus of Corporations (Office for National Statistics)


Plotted back to 1970, this index has successfully signaled turning points in the U.K. business cycles. The Conference Board currently produces leading economic indexes for the Euro Area and nine other countries, including Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain and the U.S.


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