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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

Press Release Archive

Released: Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Australia increased 0.6 percent and the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in March.

  • The leading index increased again in March, following a small gain which was revised up from no change as a result of data revisions. The growth rate of the leading index picked up steadily to a 3.0 - 4.0 percent annual rate range in recent months, up from about 2.0 percent growth through December, but this is still below the high of the 5.0 percent rate reached in mid-2005. In addition, the strengths among the leading indicators have become more widespread.
  • The coincident index increased slightly again in March. It has been essentially flat in the second half of 2005 but its growth has improved slightly through March. The household gross disposable income and employment continue to be the main positive contributors to the coincident index over the last six months. Real GDP growth slowed to a 1.5 percent average annual rate in the second half of 2005 (including a 1.9 percent rate in the fourth quarter), down from the 4.0 percent average rate in the first half of the year. The behavior in the leading index in recent months suggests that the economy is likely to continue growing moderately in the near term.

Leading Indicators.Seven 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, rural goods exports*, building approvals*, the sales to inventories ratio*, gross operating surplus*, and yield spread. The (inverted) “medium-term” government bond yield declined in March.

With the 0.6 percent increase in March, the leading index now stands at 161.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in February and increased 0.2 percent in January. During the six-month period through March, the leading index increased 1.7 percent, and six of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 81.3 percent).

Coincident Indicators.Four 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 the (inverted) unemployment rate, employed persons, household gross disposable income*, and industrial production*. Retail trade remained unchanged in March.

With the increase of 0.2 percent in March, the coincident index now stands at 119.2 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased in February and remained unchanged in January. During the six-month period through March, the coincident index increased 0.6 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” 10 A.M. ET on May 25, 2006. 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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