The Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators for the UK sipped two-tenths of a percentage point in May, the most recent month for which data are available. The index now stands at 136.2 (1990=100).
However, despite May's decline, the growth rate of the leading index has been improving since last year and has recently been expanding at an annual rate of about 4%. What's more, GDP growth in the UK, adjusted for inflation, was at an annual rate of 3.1% during the first three months of this year, a full percentage point better than the average rate during the final six months of 2005.
"The current behavior of the leading index suggests that moderate economic growth should continue in the near term," says the Conference Board, a New York-based business research group.