Press Release Archive
Released: Wednesday, May 25, 2005
The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Australia declined 0.1 percent, while the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in March.
- The leading index fell slightly in March following a moderate increase in February. Despite the small decline in March, the growth rate of the leading index has continued to fluctuate around a 1.5 to 2.5 percent annual rate, 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. In addition, the strength among the components remains somewhat widespread.
- The coincident index increased again in March, keeping it on a steady rising trend. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed to a 0.8 percent average annual rate in the second half of 2004, down from 2.2 percent in the first half of 2004 and 6.7 percent in the second half of 2003. The current behavior of the leading index 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.Four 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 gross operating surplus*, the sales to inventories ratio*, building approvals*, and money supply*. Rural goods exports*, share prices, the (inverted) “medium-term” government bond yield, and yield spread declined in March.
With the 0.1 percent decrease in March, the leading index now stands at 155.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in February and increased 0.1 percent in January. During the six-month period through March, the leading index increased 0.9 percent, and five of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 62.5 percent).
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 employed persons, household gross disposable income*, and industrial production*. Retail trade declined, while the (inverted) unemployment rate remained unchanged in March.
With the 0.2 percent increase in March, the coincident index now stands at 117.9 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in both February and January. During the six-month period through March, the coincident index increased 0.9 percent, with four of the five components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 80.0 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 May 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.