Press Release Archive
Released: Wednesday, May 21, 2003
The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Australia increased 0.2 percent and the coincident index decreased 0.2 percent in March.
- The leading index increased slightly in March following small declines in the previous two months. Despite March's increase, the leading index has now been essentially flat in the first three months of 2003 following very strong growth in the final three months of 2002. The leading index has been fluctuating around a 3.0 percent growth rate over the past year, and has not yet been weak for long enough to signal a slower trend.
- The coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, fell slightly in March following no change in February. This recent weakness reflects declines in the two labor market components. Although the six-month diffusion index fell, it still remains well above the 50.0 percent level.
- In general, the leading and coincident indexes are signaling continued economic growth, although at a sluggish pace.
Leading Indicators. Five of the eight components in the leading index increased in March. The positive contributors to the index -in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest- are money supply*, share prices, sales to inventories ratio*, yield spread, and gross operating surplus*. Three of the eight components of the leading index decreased in March. The negative contributors to the index -in order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest - are the inverted "medium term" government bond yield, building approvals*, and rural goods exports*. (For details, see data availability section and tables).
With an increase in March, the leading index now stands at 149.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.1 percent in February and decreased 0.2 percent in January. During the six-month span through March, the leading index increased 1.3 percent, and four of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).
* See notes under data availability.
Coincident Indicators. Three of the five components in the coincident index increased in March. The increases - in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest - occurred in retail trade*, household gross disposable income*, and industrial production*. Declines occurred in employed persons and the inverted unemployment rate (For details, see data availability section and tables).
With a decrease of 0.2 percent in March, the coincident index now stands at 113.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index was flat in February and increased 0.3 percent in January. During the six-month period through March, the coincident index increased 0.5 percent, with three components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 70.0 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" 3 P.M. ET on May 20, 2003. Some series are estimated as noted below.
NOTES: Series in the leading index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are sales to inventory ratio and gross operating surplus for private non-financial corporations, the implicit price index used to deflate rural goods exports and building approvals. (Money Supply M3 levels from April 2002 are derived from growth rates reported by RBA). Series in the coincident index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are industrial production, household disposable income, and retail trade.
Due to the Reserve Bank of Australia's discontinuation of the 3-month Treasury Bill (for details see 'For the Record" in the June 2002 RBA bulletin), The Conference Board will use the Bank Accepted Bill 90 Days to calculate the yield spread from now on.
THESE DATA ARE FOR ANALYSIS PURPOSES ONLY. NOT FOR REDISTRIBUTION, PUBLISHING, DATABASING, OR PUBLIC POSTING WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION.