Global Business Cycle Indicators


Press Release Archive

Released: Monday, November 24, 2003

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Germany increased 0.2 percent, while the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in September.

  • With September’s gain, the leading index has increased in five of the last six months. The leading index has now increased at a 3.5 percent annual rate since March (its most recent low), up from about a 3.5 percent annual rate of decline in the second half of 2002 to early 2003.
  • The coincident index increased slightly in September, but this was offset by a large revision to August. The coincident index remained on a downward trend in the third quarter but there was an improvement because the rate of decline moderated relative to the first half of the year. Correspondingly, there was a slight improvement in real GDP growth from small declines in the first half of the year to a small increase in the third quarter.
  • The pick up in the leading index since March has been signaling an improvement in economic growth during the second half of the year, and this started in the third quarter. In addition, this month’s increase makes it more likely that the long decline in the leading index over the preceding three years has finally come to an end.

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

With a 0.2 percent increase in September, the leading index now stands at 101.2 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in August and increased 0.6 percent in July. During the six-month span through September, the leading index increased 1.7 percent, with five of the eight components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 62.5 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Two of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in September. The positive contributors to the coincident index were employed persons and manufacturing sales. Retail trade and industrial production decreased in September.

With a 0.1 percent decline in September, the coincident index now stands at 107.7 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.8 percent in August and increased 0.1 percent in July. During the six-month period through September, the coincident index decreased 1.8 percent, with only one of the four components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 12.5 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 November 21, 2003. Some series are estimated as noted below.

*Notes: Series in the leading index for Germany that are based on The Conference Board estimates are inventory change and gross enterprises and properties income.


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