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Global Business Cycle Indicators


Press Release Archive

Released: Tuesday, June 24, 2003

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Germany increased 0.1 percent and the coincident index decreased 0.6 percent in April.

  • The leading index gained 0.1 percent in April for the first time in five months, after dropping 1.7 percent from December 2002 through March 2003. April’s increase was largely due to stock prices and consumer confidence and it is too soon to suggest that the downward trend in the leading index is abating. The weakness in leading indicators remains widespread.
  • The coincident index, a measure of current economic conditions, dropped significantly in April and continues its downward trend established after July 2002. It is strongly reflective of the sluggish to negative economic growth that Germany has experienced since last year. The leading index is still signaling that Germany may continue to experience flat to negative economic growth over the next few quarters.

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

The leading index now stands at 99.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.5 percent in March and 0.9 percent in February. During the six-month span through April, the leading index decreased 1.3 percent, with two of the eight components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 25.0 percent).

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

With a decrease of 0.6 percent in April, the coincident index now stands at 109.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index was unchanged in March and decreased 0.2 percent in February. During the six-month period through April, the coincident index decreased 1.7 percent, with two of its four components decreasing (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 June 20, 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 and manufacturing sales.