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Financial News: U.S. Leading Economic Index Decreases More Than Expected

U.S. Leading Economic Index Decreases More Than Expected In April

05/17/2024 - 10:20:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Suggesting softer economic conditions lay ahead, the Conference Board released a report on Friday showing a continued decrease by its reading on leading U.S. economic indicators in the month of April.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index fell by 0.6 percent in April after dipping by 0.3 percent in March. Economists had expected the index to decrease by another 0.3 percent.

"Deterioration in consumers' outlook on business conditions, weaker new orders, a negative yield spread, and a drop in new building permits fueled April's decline," said Justyna Zabinska-La Monica, Senior Manager, Business Cycle Indicators, at The Conference Board. "In addition, stock prices contributed negatively for the first time since October of last year."

The report said the leading economic index contracted by 1.9 percent over the six-month period between October 2023 and April 2024, a smaller decrease than the 3.5 percent decline over the previous six months.

"While the LEI's six-month and annual growth rates no longer signal a forthcoming recession, they still point to serious headwinds to growth ahead. Indeed, elevated inflation, high interest rates, rising household debt, and depleted pandemic savings are all expected to continue weighing on the US economy in 2024," said Zabinska-La Monica.

She added, "As a result, we project that real GDP growth will slow to under 1 percent over the Q2 to Q3 2024 period."

The Conference Board said the coincident economic index rose by 0.2 percent in April, matching the uptick seen in March, while the lagging economic index increased by 0.4 percent in April after remaining unchanged in March.

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