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The Daily

Wednesday, May 21, 2008
April 2008

The composite leading indicator rose 0.1% in April after no change in March. Only 3 of the 10 components declined, the fewest since the turmoil erupted in global financial markets last summer. As recently as December, 6 components were declining. The stock market posted the largest turnaround.

Prices on the Toronto stock market rebounded in April, after trending down for five straight months. Subsequently, the market hit a new record high in May. Stock prices were buoyed by surging commodity prices and strength in the information technology sector.

Household demand was sustained by further gains in spending on durable goods. These offset a seventh straight decline for housing, notably as housing starts retreated sharply in April after a strong start to the year.

The leading indicator for the United States pointed to continued weakness, falling 0.2% for its eighth consecutive monthly decrease. Housing and auto sales remained the major drags on the economy.

Despite the slack in auto and lumber exports to the United States, Canadian manufacturers recorded their first back-to-back gains in new orders since June 2007. This largely reflected strong demand for airplanes. However, there are long lags in building planes, which helps explain why output and shipments continued on a slight downward trend. The cuts to output kept the downward pressure on inventories, leaving the ratio of shipments to stocks unchanged.

A more detailed analysis of the components is available online.

Available on CANSIM: table 377-0003.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 1601.

This release will be reprinted in the June 2008 issue of Canadian Economic Observer, Vol. 21, no. 6 (11-010-XWB, free). For more information on the economy, consult the Canadian Economic Observer.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Philip Cross (613-951-9162;, Current Economic Analysis Group.

Tables. Table(s).