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Released: Monday, September 13, 2004

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Korea decreased 0.1 percent and the coincident index decreased 0.3 percent in July.

  • The leading index fell slightly again in July, and there were downward revisions to the previous two months. As a result, the growth rate of the leading index has continued to slow, from almost a 7.0 percent annual rate in the second half of 2003 to only 0.0 to1.0 percent in recent months.
  • The coincident index also fell in July, and real GDP growth has slowed to an average rate of 2.7 percent (annualized) over the first two quarters of 2004, down from a 9.0 percent rate in the last two quarters of 2003. The recent behavior of the leading index suggests that the economy will continue growing moderately for the remainder of 2004.

Leading Indicators. Three of the eight components that make up the leading index decreased in July. The negative contributors - from the largest negative contributor to the smallest – were value of machinery orders, stock prices, and letter of credit arrivals. Authorized building permits, the (inverted) index of inventories to shipments, the (inverted) yield of government public bonds, monthly hours worked*, and real exports FOB increased in July.

With the 0.1 percent decrease in June, the leading index now stands at 122.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 1.0 percent in May and increased 1.1 percent in April. During the six-month span through June, the index increased 0.5 percent, with four of its eight components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Three of the four components that make up the coincident index decreased in July. The negative contributors - from the largest negative contributor to smallest – were the (inverted) unemployment rate, total employment, and wholesale and retail sales. Industrial production increased in July.

With the 0.3 percent decrease in July, the coincident index now stands at 111.5 (1990=100). This index increased 0.2 percent in June and decreased 0.2 percent in May. During the six-month span through July, the coincident index decreased 0.5 percent, with one of the four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 25.0 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 September 10, 2004.

Notes: The series in the leading index based on The Conference Board’s estimates are monthly hours worked. There is no forecasted series in the coincident index.


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