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Released: Friday, March 17, 2006

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Mexico increased 0.8 percent and the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in January.

  • The leading index increased sharply in January offsetting two consecutive declines in November and December. Stock prices and oil prices were the main contributors to the increase in the leading index. Despite January’s gain, the growth rate of the leading index has slowed to about 4.0 to 5.0 percent annual rate in the last two to three months, down from the rapid growth through the end of the third quarter of 2005. However, the strength among the leading indicators continued to be widespread in recent months.
  • The coincident index increased slightly in January, and its rising trend since the beginning of 2005 moderated slightly at the end of the year. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed to a 2.9 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2005, down from the 4.8 percent rate in the third quarter. Despite short-term volatility, the recent behavior of the leading index suggests that moderate economic growth is likely to continue in the near term.

Leading Indicators. Four of the six components that make up the leading index increased in January. The positive contributors to the index—from the largest positive contributor to the smallest one—are the US refiners’ acquisition cost of domestic and imported crude oil, stock prices, the (inverted) real exchange rate, and the (inverted) federal funds rate. Net insufficient inventories and the industrial production construction component* decreased in January.

With the 0.8 percent increase in January, the leading index now stands at 156.9 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.2 percent in December and declined 0.5 percent in November. During the six-month span through January, the index increased 2.3 percent, with five of the six components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 83.3 percent).

Coincident Indicators.Two of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in January. The positive contributors were number of people employed (measured by IMSS beneficiaries) and the (inverted) unemployment rate*. Retail sales* declined, while industrial production remained unchanged in January.

With the increase of 0.1 percent in January, the coincident index now stands at 116.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.2 percent in December and increased 0.1 percent in November. During the six-month span through January, the index increased 0.6 percent, with two of the four components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

Data Availability. The data series used to compute the two composite indexes reported in the tables in this release are those available “as of” 10 A.M. March 15, 2006. Some series are estimated as noted below.

NOTES:Series in the leading index based on The Conference Board estimates include industrial production - construction component. The series in the coincident index based on The Conference Board estimates include retail sales and unemployment rate.

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

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