Press Release Archive
Released: Thursday, April 10, 2003
The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for Japan decreased 0.2 percent and the coincident index decreased 0.1 percent in February.
- The leading index increased in the beginning of 2002, was essentially flat for six months, and has decreased consistently for the last three months. Weakness in the leading index was primarily due to increasing business failures and a continued decline in the Tankan survey.
- The six-month growth rate of the leading index has also become negative in the past three consecutive months, falling from an average growth rate of more than four percent in the third quarter of 2002. Despite these successive declines, the magnitude of the decrease in the leading index over the past three months is not as large as previous significant declines. It is still too early to tell if the leading index is signaling significant weakness.
- The coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, declined in February. The weakening in the leading index since mid-2002 suggests that the coincident index and economic activity are more likely to weaken throughout the first half of 2003.
Leading Indicators. Two of the ten components that make up the leading index increased in February. The positive contributors to the index are dwelling units started and real money supply. Six components decreased in February. The negative contributors to the index – in order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest – are business failures, the Tankan survey, index of overtime worked, six month growth rate of labor productivity*, stock price index, and yield spread. Real operating profits* and new orders for machinery and construction* were unchanged.
With the decrease of 0.2 percent in February, the leading index now stands at 90.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.1 percent in January and decreased 0.5 in December. During the six-month span through February, the index decreased 0.4 percent, and six of the ten components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 60.0 percent).
Coincident Indicators. Three of the six components that make up the coincident index increased in February. The positive contributors – in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – are real retail sales, number of persons employed, and real manufacturing sales*. Three components decreased in February. The negative contributors to the index– in order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest- are industrial production, real wholesale sales, and wage and salary income*.
With the decrease of 0.1 percent in February, the coincident index now stands at 102.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.7 percent in January and decreased 0.4 percent in December. During the six-month span through February, the index increased 0.5 percent, and three of the six components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).
Data Availability. The data series used to compute the two composite indexes reported in this release are those available “as of” 10:00 A.M. ET April 9, 2003. Some series are estimated as noted below.
*The series in the leading index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are real operating profits, the six-month growth rate of labor productivity, and new orders for machinery and construction. The series in the coincident index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are real manufacturing sales and wage and salary income.
THESE DATA ARE FOR ANALYSIS PURPOSES ONLY. NOT FOR REDISTRIBUTION, PUBLISHING, DATABASING, OR PUBLIC POSTING WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION.