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Economy in Brief

OECD Leaders Continued Sideways
by Tom Moeller November 8, 2004

The 0.1% decline in the September Index of Leading Indicators for the Major Seven OECD Countries left the series at the same level it reached in February and the monthly gyration around that level has been minimal. The six-month growth rate fell to 1.2% from 7.8% during the period.

Weakness in the leaders for the United States has been most notable this year, though positive economic growth still is suggested. Six-month growth in the US leaders fell to 1.1% versus 11.6% in January as a result of lower business & consumer sentiment and a tighter yield curve. The leading index in Japan also weakened with six-month growth falling to 0.4% from 3.5% in January.

The leading index growth rate for the European Union fell to 2.7% from 6.2% in January. Growth in the German leaders fell to 3.1% in September versus 8.3% in January. The French leading index growth rate remained relatively firm decelerating only to 5.1% versus 8.2% at the start of the year. Leaders in Italy stabilized during the last two months after earlier declines but six-month growth in the series nevertheless went negative at -0.2% versus +2.1% in January. The UK leaders also stabilized in August & September and the six month growth rate returned to positive territory at 0.5%.

In Canada the leaders went negative for the first time since June 2003. The -1.1% growth rate was due mostly to the factors that pulled the US index down.

Visit the OECD at this website.

OECD Main Economic Indicators Sept Aug 6-Mth Chg 2003 2002 2001
OECD Major Seven - Leading Index (Trend Restored) 102.3 102.4 1.2% 2.6% 2.3% -3.1%
  European Union 106.1 105.7 2.7% 2.3% 3.5% -2.4%
  Japan 98.1 97.9 0.4% 1.8% 0.3% -4.5%
  United States 102.6 103.1 1.1% 3.8% 2.0% -3.3%
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