Japan's Leading Economic Index Unchanged

For the third consecutive month, the Conference Board's leading economic index for Japan was unchanged in January 2005, the most recent month for which data are available. The leading index stands at 99.1 (1990=100).

In contrast, Japan's inflation-adjusted GDP declined during the second, third and fourth quarters of 2004 at an average annual rate of eight-tenths of a percent. "The flatness of the leading index since the middle of 2004 suggests that the economy will grow in coming quarters, but probably at a very sluggish pace," says the Conference Board, a New York-based business research group.

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