Press Release Archive
Released: Thursday, March 24, 2005
The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Australia was unchanged and the coincident index increased 0.3 percent in January.
- The leading index was unchanged in January following three consecutive gains, but there were large downward revisions to the previous several months as actual data for several series in the National Accounts for the fourth quarter of 2004 became available. As a result, the growth rate of the leading index has been in the 1.5 to 2.5 percent range (annual rate) in recent months. This is an improvement from the 0.0 to 1.0 percent rate in the third quarter of 2004, but it is still below the 5.0 to 6.0 percent rate reached in the first half of 2004.
- The coincident index increased again in January, and has been on a moderate but steadily rising trend. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed to a 0.8 percent average annual rate in the second half of 2004 (including a 0.6 percent rate in the fourth quarter), down from 2.2 percent in the first half of 2004 and an even stronger 6.5 percent rate in the second half of 2003.
- The growth rate of the leading index in recent months has been slightly below its long-term trend growth. This suggests that the economy should continue growing in the near term, at perhaps a higher rate than the sluggish growth in the second half of 2004, but not as strongly as the rapid growth in the second half of 2003.
Leading Indicators.Five of the eight components in the leading index increased in January. The positive contributors to the index — in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest — are building approvals*, money supply*, share prices, gross operating surplus*, the sales to inventories ratio*. The (inverted) “medium-term” government bond yield and rural goods exports* declined, while yield spread remained steady in January.
Holding steady in January, the leading index now stands at 154.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in December and increased 0.4 percent in November. During the six-month period through January, the leading index increased 0.5 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 January. The increases - in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest – occurred in employed persons, household gross disposable income*, and retail trade. The (inverted) unemployment rate and industrial production* remained unchanged in January.
With the 0.3 percent increase in January, the coincident index now stands at 117.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in both December and November. During the six-month period through January, the coincident index increased 0.9 percent, with three of the five components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 60.0 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 March 24, 2005. 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.
THESE DATA ARE FOR ANALYSIS PURPOSES ONLY. NOT FOR REDISTRIBUTION, PUBLISHING, DATABASING, OR PUBLIC POSTING WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION.