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FOR RELEASE: 9:00 A.M. ET, TUESDAY, MAY 18, 2004


The Press Release in a PDF file
English Version     Spanish Version

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for Spain increased 0.4 percent, while the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in March.

  • The leading index increased again in March, continuing the steady growth that began a year ago. The leading index has increased at an average rate of about 4.5 percent over this period, and the strength has continued to be widespread. The coincident index has also been increasing steadily since the third quarter of 2003.
  • Correspondingly, real GDP increased at a 2.8 percent average annual rate in the second half of 2003. The persistent strength in the leading index suggests that economic growth will continue at about this rate in the near term, with the possibility of some slight improvement.

LEADING INDICATORS. Four of the six components that make up the leading index increased in March. The positive contributors-in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest-are the order books survey, job placings, the inverted long-term government bond yield, and the capital equipment component of industrial production. The Spanish equity price index and the Spanish contribution to Euro M2 declined in March.

With the 0.4 percent increase in March, the leading index now stands at 136.0 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in both February and January. During the six-month span through March, the index increased 2.5 percent, and all six components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100.0 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. Three of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in March. The positive contributors -in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest-are final household consumption*, industrial production excluding construction*, and real imports*. The retail sales survey remained unchanged in March.

With the increase of 0.2 percent in March, the coincident index now stands at 143.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.4 percent in February and 0.3 percent in January. During the six-month span through March, the index increased 1.6 percent, and all four components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100.0 percent).

The next release is scheduled for June 22, 2004 at 9:00 A.M. (ET) In Spain -June 22, 2004 at 3:00 P.M. (CET)

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. (ET) May 14, 2004. Some series are estimated as noted below.

NOTES: Series in the coincident index based on The Conference Board estimates include final household consumption, industrial production excluding construction, and real imports.

Professional Contacts at The Conference Board:
Indicator Program: 1-212-339-0330

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


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.

Further explanations of the cyclical indicator approach and the composite index methodology appear in The Conference Board's Business Cycle Indicators report and Web

Spain Composite Indexes: Components and Standardization Factors
 Leading IndexFactor
1.Capital Equipment Component of Industrial Production.0591
2.Contribution to Euro M2.2648
3.Stock Price Index.0262
4.Long term Government Bond Yield.4560
5.Order Books Survey.1249
6.Job Placings.0689
Coincident Index
1.Final Household Consumption.6447
2.Industrial Production, Excluding Construction.2264
3.Retail Sales Survey.0601
4.Real Imports.0688

Notes: The component 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. (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 1984-2001 as the sample period for measuring volatility for the leading index and 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.


The 2004 schedule for the Spain "Leading Economic Indicators" news release is:

April 2004 Data............... Tuesday June 22, 2004

All releases are at 9:00 A.M (ET), 3:00 P.M. (CET)

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, contact the Global Indicators Research Institute at 212-339-0330, or email

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