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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Australia increased 0.5 percent and the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in February.

  • The leading index increased for the fifth consecutive month in February, and the strength continued to be widespread. With this month’s gain, the growth rate of the leading index has been 2.0 to 3.0 percent (annual rate) in recent months, up from 0.0 to 1.0 percent in the third quarter of 2004, but still below the 5.0 to 6.0 percent reached in the first half of 2004.
  • February’s 0.1 percent increase kept the coincident index on a moderate and steady rising trend (a 1.0 to 2.0 percent annual rate). Real GDP growth has slowed sharply, to a 0.8 percent average annual rate in the second half of 2004 from 2.2 percent in the first half of 2004 and 6.7 percent in the second half of 2003.
  • The pickup in the leading index in recent months has been widespread, but the current 2.0 to 3.0 percent growth rate index is still slightly below its long-term trend. This suggests that economic growth should pick up slightly from the very sluggish pace in the second half of 2004, but not to the rapid growth rate of late 2003.

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

With the 0.5 percent increase in February, the leading index now stands at 155.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in both January and December. During the six-month period through February, the leading index increased 1.1 percent, and four of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

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

With the 0.1 percent increase in February, the coincident index now stands at 117.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in January and was unchanged in December. During the six-month period through February, 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 April 19, 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.

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