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Global Business Cycle Indicators


Press Release Archive

Released: Thursday, March 20, 2003

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Germany decreased 0.1 percent and the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in January.

  • The slight decline in the leading index in January follows no change in December and a slight increase in November. A sharp drop in stock prices was responsible for January’s decline in the leading index. Overall, weakness in the leading indicators has become less widespread in recent months.
  • The downward trend in the leading index appears to have paused recently. The leading index has now been approximately flat for three months after declining sharply from last June to October.
  • After falling for five months, the coincident index, a measure of economic activity, increased in January with employment and industrial production showing improvements. Additional months are needed for clarification, but taken together, the composite indexes suggest economic growth in Germany may stabilize in the first half of 2003 after falling at the end of 2002.span>

Leading Indicators. Five of the eight components in the leading index decreased in January. The negative contributors to the leading index - in order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest - are stock prices, gross enterprises and properties income*, the yield spread, new orders in investment goods industries* and the growth rate of CPI for services. Three of the eight components in the leading index increased in January. The positive contributors to the leading index -in order from the largest to the smallest positive contributor- include new residential construction orders*, consumer confidence and inventory change series*.

The leading index now stands at 100.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index was unchanged in December and increased 0.1 percent in November. During the six-month span through January, the leading index decreased -1.7 percent, with two of the eight components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 25.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators. All four components that make up the coincident index increased in January. The positive contributors to the coincident index -in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest- are employment, industrial production, retail trade sales and manufacturing sales*.

With the increase of 0.2 percent in January, the coincident index now stands at 109.7 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.4 percent in December and decreased 0.3 percent in November. During the six-month period through January, the coincident index decreased 1.8 percent, with only one of its four components making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 25.0 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” 9 A.M. ET on March 19, 2003. Some series are estimated as noted below.

*Notes: Series in the composite indexes for Germany that are based on The Conference Board estimates are inventory change, new residential construction orders, gross enterprises and properties income, new orders in the investment goods industry and manufacturing sales.