General Info Methodology and Revisions Searchable Database For Educators Economics Home Page Conference Board Home Page


The Press Release in a PDF file

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Germany increased 0.4 percent, and the coincident index decreased 0.3 percent in November.

  • The leading index for Germany increased modestly in November, but it is still more than 7.0 percent below its highest level, which occurred in February 2000. The duration and depth of this decline suggests a low likelihood of a strong recovery for the German economy in the near future.
  • The weakness in the coincident index during November was concentrated again in the labor market, however, retail sales also contributed to the decline. The coincident index is more than 2.5 percent below its historical peak, which occurred in September 2000.

LEADING INDICATORS. Five of the eight components in the leading index increased in November. The positive contributors to the leading index -in order from the largest to the smallest positive contributor- include stock prices, the inventory change series*, the yield spread, new residential construction orders* and new orders in investment goods industries. Three of the eight components in the leading index decreased in November. The negative contributors to the leading index -in order from the larger negative contributor to the smaller- are growth rate of CPI services, gross enterprises and properties income* and consumer confidence*.

With the increase of 0.4 percent in November, the leading index now stands at 101.0 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.8 percent in October and was unchanged in September. During the six-month span through November, the leading index decreased 1.5 percent, with five of the eight components increasing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 37.5 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. Two of the four components that make up the coincident index decreased in November. The negative contributors to the coincident index -in order from the larger negative contributor to the smaller- are employment and retail trade sales. The positive contributors to the coincident index - in order from the larger to the smaller positive contributor- are industrial production and manufacturing sales.

With the decrease of 0.3 percent in November, the coincident index now stands at 110.1 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.5 percent in October and was unchanged in September. During the six-month period through November, the coincident index decreased 0.7 percent, with two of its four components making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

* See notes under data availability.

The next release is scheduled for February 20, 2003 at 9:30 A.M. (ET)
In Germany -February 20, 2003 at 3:30 P.M. (CET)

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" 9 A.M. ET on January 16, 2002. Some series are estimated as noted below.

NOTES: Series in the leading index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are inventory change, consumer confidence index, new residential construction orders and gross enterprises and properties income.

# # #

Professional Contacts at The Conference Board:
Ataman Ozyildirim: 1-212-339-0399
Mike Fort: 1-212-339-0402
Bart Van Ark: 31-50-363-3674

Media Contacts:
Randy Poe: 1-212-339-0234
Frank Tortorici: 1-212-339-0231


THE CYCLICAL INDICATOR APPROACH. The composite indexes are the key elements in an analytic system designed to signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle. The leading and coincident indexes are essentially composite averages of between four and nine individual leading or coincident indicators. (See page 3 for details.) They are constructed to summarize and reveal common turning point patterns in economic data in a clearer and more convincing manner than any individual component-primarily because they smooth out some of the volatility of individual components.

Historically, the cyclical turning points in the leading index have occurred before those in aggregate economic activity, while the cyclical turning points in the coincident index have occurred at about the same time as those in aggregate economic activity.

Germany Composite Indexes: Components and Standardization Factors
 Leading IndexFactor
1.New Orders, Investment Goods.0477
2.Yield Spread, 10 year minus 3 month.4191
3.Change in Inventories.1590
4.Gross Enterprise and Property Income.0967
5.Stock Prices.0408
6.New Orders, Residential Construction.0697
7.Growth Rate for Consumer Price Index for Services.0328
8.Consumer Confidence Index.1341

Coincident Index
1.Manufacturing Sales.0591
2.Industrial Production.1018
3.Retail sales.0963

The standardization factors are inversely related to the standard deviation of the month-to-month changes in each component. They are used to equalize the volatility of the contribution from each component and are "normalized" to sum to 1. These factors are revised effective with the November 19, 2002 release, and all historical values for the two composite indexes have been revised to reflect these changes. (Under normal circumstances, updates to the leading and coincident indexes only incorporate revisions to data over the past six months.)

The factors above were calculated using 1992-2000 as the sample period for measuring volatility for the leading index, and 1991-2000 as the sample period for the coincident index. There are additional sample periods as the result of different starting dates for the component data. When one or more components is missing, the other factors are adjusted proportionately to ensure that the total continues to sum to 1. For additional information on the standardization factors and the index methodology visit our Web site:

To address the problem of lags in available data, those leading and coincident indicators that are not available at the time of publication are estimated using statistical imputation. An autoregressive model is used to estimate each component. The resulting indexes are constructed using real and estimated data, and will be revised as the data unavailable at the time of publication become available. Such revisions are part of the monthly data revisions, now a regular part of the U.S. Business Cycle Indicators program. The main advantage of this procedure is to utilize in the leading index the data, such as stock prices, that are available sooner than other data on "real" aspects of the economy, such as new orders and changes in inventory. Empirical research by The Conference Board suggests there are real gains in adopting this procedure to make all the indicator series as up-to-date as possible.


Release Schedule:

Thursday, February 20, 2003.... December 2002 Data
Thursday, March 20, 2003..... January 2003 Data

With annual benchmark revisions in January 2001, all components of the leading and coincident indexes were updated with all revisions in the underlying component data.

For detailed information on benchmark revisions, visit our website:

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE BOARD. Founded in 1916, The Conference Board is the premier business membership and research network. The Conference Board has become a global leader in helping executives build strong professional relationships, expand their business knowledge and find solutions to a wide range of business challenges. The Board's Economics Program, under the direction of Chief Economist Gail Fosler, is a recognized source of forecasts, economic analysis and objective indicators such as the Leading Economic Indicators and the Consumer Confidence Index.

This role is part of a long tradition of research and education that stretches back to the compilation of the first continuous measure of the cost of living in the United States in 1919. In 1995, The Conference Board assumed responsibility for computing the composite indexes from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Conference Board now produces business cycle indexes for the U.S., Australia, France, Germany, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Spain and the U.K. To subscribe to any of these indexes, please visit or contact the Global Indicators Research Institute at 212-339-0330 or email


Germany Business Cycle Indicators Internet Subscription $ 500 per year (1 user)
(Includes monthly release, data, charts and commentary)
Individual Data Series $ 15 per series downloaded
Monthly BCI Report $ 130 per year
(Sample available on request)
Monthly News Release (fax or email) $ 45 per year
BCI Handbook (published 2001) $ 20
Corporate Site License $2,600 per year

Business Cycle Indicators for France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain and the U.K. are available at $500 per country per year (1 user). Discounts are available to Associates of The Conference Board and accredited academic institutions.