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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

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Released: Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Australia increased 0.3 percent and the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in April.

  • The leading index rose slightly in April, the fifth increase in the past six months. The leading index has been growing in the range of 3.0 - 4.0 percent annual rate in recent months, up from about 2.0 percent growth through December, but not as rapidly as the almost 5.0 percent rate reached in mid-2005. Over the period from October to April, real money supply has made the largest positive contribution, and the strengths among the leading indicators have been fairly widespread.
  • The coincident index increased slightly again in April. Retail trade and employed persons are the main positive contributors to the coincident index over the last six months. At the same time, real GDP growth picked up to a 3.5 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2006, up from a 1.9 percent average annual rate in the second half of 2005. The current behavior of the leading index suggests that moderate economic growth is likely to continue in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Five of the eight components in the leading index increased in April. The positive contributors to the index - in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest - are money supply*, share prices, gross operating surplus*, yield spread, and the sales to inventories ratio*. The (inverted) "medium-term" government bond yield and building approvals* declined in April.

With the 0.3 percent increase in April, the leading index now stands at 161.6 (1990 = 100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.5 percent in March and remained unchanged in February. During the six-month period through April, the leading index increased 1.9 percent, and six of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 81.3 percent).

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

With the increase of 0.1 percent in April, the coincident index now stands at 119.2 (1990 = 100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in both March and February. During the six-month period through April, the coincident index increased 0.6 percent, with all five components in the series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100.0 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 June 27, 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.

THESE DATA ARE FOR ANALYSIS PURPOSES ONLY. NOT FOR REDISTRIBUTION, PUBLISHING, DATABASING, OR PUBLIC POSTING WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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