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U.S. Leading Economic Index Jumps More Than Expected In January


Pointing to robust economic growth in the first half of 2018, the Conference Board released a report on Thursday showing a bigger than expected increase by its index of leading U.S. economic indicators in the month of January.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index jumped by 1.0 percent in January after climbing by 0.6 percent in December. Economists had been expecting another 0.6 percent increase.

"While the recent stock market volatility will not be reflected in the U.S. LEI until next month, consumers' and business' outlook on the economy had been improving for several months and should not be greatly impacted," said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at the Conference Board.

He added, "The leading indicators reflect an economy with widespread strengths coming from financial conditions, manufacturing, residential construction, and labor markets."

The bigger than expected increase reflected positive contributions from eight of the ten indicators that make up the leading index.

The positive contributors included building permits, the ISM new orders index, stock prices, the Leading Credit Index and the interest rate spread.

The report also said the coincident economic index inched up by 0.1 percent in January after rising by 0.3 percent in December.

The modest uptick reflected positive contributions from employees on non-farm payrolls, personal income less transfer payments and manufacturing and trade sales.

The lagging economic index also inched up by 0.1 percent in January after increasing by 0.7 percent in the previous month.

The change in consumer prices for services, the ratio of consumer installment credit outstanding to personal income and the average prime rate charged by banks made positive contributions.

by RTT Staff Writer

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