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Global Business Cycle Indicators


Press Release Archive

Released: Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Korea increased 0.4 percent, and the coincident index was unchanged in December.

  • The leading index increased again in December following a large gain in November and its strength has become somewhat more widespread in the last two months. With December’s gain, the growth rate of the leading index has picked up to about 1.0-2.0 percent (annual rate) in recent months. This is an improvement from the slight decline in the second and third quarters of 2004, but is still well below the very rapid 7.0 percent growth through the first quarter of 2004.
  • Real GDP growth slowed to a 2.7 percent average annual rate during the first three quarters of 2004, down from the very strong growth in the second half of 2003. While it is too early to tell if the recent strength in the leading index is the beginning of a sustained pick up, the improvement in the leading index suggests that the economy should continue growing into 2005, possibly at a slightly higher rate than the sluggish growth reported so far for 2004.

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

With the 0.4 percent increase in December, the leading index now stands at 123.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.7 percent in November and decreased 0.2 percent in October. During the six-month span through December, the leading index increased 0.9 percent, with five of the eight components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 62.5 percent).

Coincident Indicators.Two of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in December. The positive contributors - from the larger positive contributor to smaller – were wholesale and retail sales and total employment. Industrial production and the (inverted) unemployment rate declined in December.

Holding steady in December, the coincident index now stands at 111.9 (1990=100). This index increased 0.2 percent in November and declined 0.1 percent in October. During the six-month span through December, the coincident index increased 0.1 percent, with two of the four 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 February 9, 2005.

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