Global Business Cycle Indicators


Press Release Archive

Released: Wednesday, April 23, 2003

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Germany decreased 0.9 percent and the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in February.

  • The leading index for Germany weakened again, with a 0.9 percent decline in February following a decline of 0.4 percent in January. Weakness has persisted in stock prices and has spread to residential construction orders.
  • The leading index increased late last year, which was followed by a pick up in the coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, in January and February. With the leading index falling again, it is unlikely that the recent strength in the coincident index will persist.
  • It is not clear how much of the renewed weakness in the leading index so far this year is related to the Middle East and other sources of global uncertainty. Nonetheless, the weakness in the leading index through February suggests economic sluggishness ahead.

Leading Indicators. Four of the eight components in the leading index decreased in February. The negative contributors to the leading index - in order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest - are stock prices, new residential construction orders*, gross enterprises and properties income* and the yield spread. Two of the eight components in the leading index increased in February. The positive contributors to the leading index -in order from the larger to the smaller positive contributor- are the inventory change series* and the growth rate of CPI for services*. Consumer confidence and new orders in investment goods industries* were both unchanged in February.

The leading index now stands at 99.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.4 percent in January and was unchanged in December. During the six-month span through February, the leading index decreased 2.1 percent, with five of the eight components decreasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 31.3 percent).

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

With an increase of 0.2 percent in February, the coincident index now stands at 110.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.5 percent in January and decreased 0.6 percent December. During the six-month period through February, the coincident index decreased 0.9 percent, with two of its four components making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 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 April 22, 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, manufacturing sales and the growth rate of CPI for services.