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Released: Wednesday, June 23, 2004

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

  • The leading index decreased again in April, its fourth consecutive decline, and the previous four months were revised down as actual data for several components became available. As a result, the upward trend underway since March 2003 appears to be interrupted. The leading index has been declining at about a 4.0 percent annual rate so far this year, but this weakness is mainly due to the new residential construction orders component.
  • Corresponding to the pickup in the growth rate of the leading index last year, the coincident index has continued on a slightly rising trend since late 2003. In addition, real GDP increased at a 1.4 percent average annual rate over the previous two quarters. However, the recent weakness in the leading index makes it uncertain that the current rate of economic growth will persist.

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 positive contributor to the smallest - are stock prices, the yield spread, new orders in investment goods industries, and the inventory change series*. New residential construction orders*, the growth rate of CPI for services, gross enterprises and properties income*, and consumer confidence decreased in April.

With a 0.2 percent decrease in April, the leading index now stands at 101.2 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.7 percent in March and decreased 0.1 percent in February. During the six-month span through April, the leading index decreased 0.7 percent, with four of the eight components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators. All four components that make up the coincident index increased in April. The positive contributors to the coincident index were manufacturing sales, industrial production, retail trade, and employed persons*.

With the 0.2 percent increase in April, the coincident index now stands at 103.7 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in March and increased 0.1 percent in February. During the six-month period through April, the coincident index increased 0.6 percent, with two of the four components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50 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 June 22, 2004. 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, new residential construction orders, and gross enterprises and properties income. Series in the coincident index for Germany that are based on The Conference Board estimates include employed persons.


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