Global Business Cycle Indicators


Press Release Archive

Released: Monday, December 22, 2003

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Germany increased 0.4 percent, while the coincident index decreased 0.1 percent in October.

  • With October’s gain, the leading index has now increased for five consecutive months. It has increased at a 3.6 percent annual rate from its most recent low in March, and the strength has become more widespread.
  • The coincident index declined slightly in October, following a slight increase in September. The rate of decline in the coincident index continues to moderate, and the declines in this index may be coming to an end. Correspondingly, there was a slight improvement in real GDP growth from small declines in the first half of the year (-0.8 percent annual rate) to a small increase in the third quarter (0.9 percent annual rate).
  • The pickup in the leading index since March signaled some improvement in economic growth during the second half of the year, and the continued strength of the leading index is signaling further improvement in the near term. More generally, it is possible that three years of a falling leading index (early 2000 to early 2003) and three years of flat real GDP (late 2000 to late 2003) have come to an end.

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

With a 0.4 percent increase in October, the leading index now stands at 101.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in September and increased 0.2 percent again in August. During the six-month span through October, the leading index increased 1.7 percent, with five of the eight components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Only one of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in October. The positive contributor to the coincident index was employed persons. Manufacturing sales, industrial production, and retail trade decreased in October.

With a 0.1 percent decline in October, the coincident index now stands at 107.7 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in September and decreased 0.7 percent in August. During the six-month period through October, the coincident index decreased 1.6 percent, with none of the four components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 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” 10 A.M. ET on December 19, 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.