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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

Press Release Archive

Released: Thursday, August 19, 2004

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Australia increased 0.7 percent and the coincident index decreased 0.1 percent in June.

  • The leading index increased sharply in June, following small gains in the previous several months. Although it is too soon to conclude that the weakness in the leading index early this year is over, the current growth rate of the leading index has returned to the 2.0-3.0 percent range (annual rate), and this strength has become more widespread. The coincident index fell slightly in June, but is still on a slightly rising trend.
  • Real GDP increased at a 0.9 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2004, down from a 5.3 percent average rate in the second half of 2003. The leading index is signaling that real GDP should start increasing more rapidly again in coming quarters.

Leading Indicators. Six of the eight components in the leading index increased in June. The positive contributors to the index - in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest - are money supply*, rural goods exports*, share prices, yield spread, gross operating surplus*, and building approvals*. The (inverted) "medium-term" government bond yield declined, while sales to inventories ratio* remained unchanged in June.

With the 0.7 percent increase in June, the leading index now stands at 152.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in May and increased 0.1 percent in April. During the six-month period through June, the leading index increased 1.2 percent, and four of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 56.3 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Three of the five components in the coincident index increased in June. The increases - in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest - occurred in household gross disposable income*, retail trade, and industrial production*. The (inverted) unemployment rate and employed persons declined in June.

With the 0.1 percent decrease in June, the coincident index now stands at 116.1 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in May and increased 0.3 percent in April. During the six-month period through June, the coincident index increased 0.5 percent, with four of the five components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 90.0 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” 5 P.M. ET on August 18, 2004. 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, and the CPI used to deflate money supply M3. Series in the coincident index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are industrial production and household disposable income. CPI was used to deflate retail trade.


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