The Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators for Japan fell two-tenths of a percentage point in May, the most recent month for which data are available. The index now stands at 98.0 (1990=100). The index was unchanged in March and slipped one-tenth of a percentage point in April. For the six months ending in May, the index increased just two-tenths of a percent.
"The continued flatness of the leading index suggests that the [Japanese] economy will grow in the near term, but more slowly than in the first quarter," says the New York-based business research group. In the first quarter of 2005, Japan's inflation-adjusted GDP advanced at an annual rate of 4.9%.