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Global Business Cycle Indicators


Press Releases



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Benchmark Revisions - January 2008

Press Release Archive

Released: Thursday, October 21, 2004

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Australia increased 0.1 percent and the coincident index held steady in August.

  • The leading index increased only slightly again in August following an equally small gain in July. However, there were very large increases in the previous several months, and hence the current growth rate of the leading index has picked up to about a 6.0-7.0 percent annual rate from 3.0-4.0 percent earlier this year. The strength among the components of the leading index has also continued to be widespread.
  • The coincident index was unchanged again in August, but is still on a slightly rising trend. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed to a 2.2 percent annual rate in the first half of 2004, down from a 6.0 percent average rate in the second half of 2003. The very strong current growth of the leading index suggests that real GDP should start increasing more rapidly again in coming quarters.

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

With the 0.1 percent increase in August, the leading index now stands at 155.7 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in July and increased 0.7 percent in June. During the six-month period through August, the leading index increased 3.2 percent, and seven of the eight components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 93.8 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Two of the five components in the coincident index increased in August. The increases - in order from the larger positive contributor to the smaller – occurred in household gross disposable income* and industrial production*. Employed persons declined, while retail trade and the (inverted) unemployment rate remained unchanged in August.

Holding steady in August, the coincident index now stands at 116.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index was unchanged in July and increased 0.1 percent in June. During the six-month period through August, the coincident index increased 0.9 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” 5 P.M. ET on October 20, 2004. 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.