The Conference Board's leading economic index for the UK increased three-tenths of a percent in September, its third consecutive increase. The index now stands at 134.4 (1990=100).
However, growth in the leading index for the past six months remains "slightly below zero," notes the Conference Board, a New York-based business research group. What's more, although GDP adjusted for inflation is growing at a 1.5% annual rate, that's a full percentage point below the 2.5% average quarterly rate for 2004. "The behavior of the leading index in recent months suggests that economic growth is likely to remain sluggish in the near term," concludes the Conference Board.