The global business cycle has continued its recessionary trends, the Conference Board reports.
The board, a private business research company, said its International Economic Scoreboard showed the composite leading index for 11 of the world's major industrial countries declining at an annual rate of 2 percent, down 3 percentage points from three months ago."While the threat of worldwide recession is mounting, the inflation threat is easing - largely because most of last summer's bulge in oil prices has passed through the system," said Edgar R. Fielder, vice president and economic counsellor at the Conference Board. "It would be nice to think that the recession is contributing to the gradual deflationary trend as is usually the case. But that thesis is difficult to defend since the economically weakest countries are showing increases in their inflation rates."
Korea, where the leading index was growing at a 6 percent annual rate, was cited as an exception to the problems other Pacific nations have experienced. Taiwan's leading index dropped at a 1 percent pace, followed by Japan, where the leading index fell 2 percent. The leading indexes in Australia and New Zealand fell 5 and 6 percent, respectively.
Europe's cyclical pattern was healthy in comparison to the rest of the world, according to the Conference Board. Germany's leading index was growing at a 7 percent rate while France's index rose 1 percent.
The leading index in the United Kingdom was dropping at a 3 percent rate, while Italy's index fell 4 percent.
Both the United States and Canada are clearly in recession, the study said. The leading index in the United States was falling at a 5 percent rate, down 5 percentage points from three months ago. Canada's leading index was dropping at a 2 percent pace.
The scoreboard includes both the leading indexes, which project future economic conditions, and the performance indexes that track current economic activity.