Global Business Cycle Indicators


Press Release Archive

Released: Thursday, May 15, 2003

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Korea was unchanged and the coincident index decreased 0.3 percent in March.

  • The leading index was flat in March after increasing slightly in February and declining sharply in January. There was more widespread weakness in March but this was offset by the positive contributions from a large decline in the inventories to sales ratio.
  • The leading index has been fluctuating around a flat trend in recent months and this is consistent with economic growth at or slightly below the economy’s trend rate.
  • The coincident index, a measure of current economic conditions, dropped again in March with all of this weakness coming from the labor market. The coincident index has also been fluctuating around a flat trend in recent months, consistent with the behavior of the leading index.

Leading Indicators. Five of the eight components that make up the leading index decreased in March. The negative contributors – from the largest negative contributor to the smallest – are the value of machinery orders in manufacturing, stock prices, authorized building permits, the inverted yield of government public bonds and monthly hours worked*. The positive contributors - from the larger positive contributor to the smaller – include the inverted index of inventories to shipments for manufacturing and real exports. Letter of credit arrivals in manufacturing* was unchanged during the month of March.

The leading index now stands at 115.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in February and decreased 1.2 percent in January. During the six-month span through March, the index increased 0.4 percent, and five of the eight components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 62.5 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Two of the four components that make up the coincident index decreased in March. The negative contributors to the index - from the larger negative contributor to the smaller - are total employment and the inverted unemployment rate. Industrial production was the only positive contributor to the index, while wholesale and retail sales were unchanged in March.

With the decrease of 0.3 percent in March, the coincident index now stands at 111.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.1 percent in February and increased 0.1 percent in January. During the six-month span through March, the coincident index was unchanged, with only two of its components advancing (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 A.M. (ET) on May 12, 2003.

*Notes: The series in the leading index based on The Conference Board’s estimates are monthly hours worked and letter of credit arrivals in manufacturing.