Composite leading indicators (CLIs), designed to anticipate turning points in economic activity relative to trend, point to moderate improvements in growth in most major economies.
Consumer prices in the OECD area rose by 1.3% in the year to April 2013, the lowest annual inflation rate since October 2009. Energy prices fell to 1.3% in the year to April, compared with an increase of 0.9% in the year to March. On the other hand, annual food price inflation rose by 2.0% in April, up from 1.7% in March. Excluding food and energy, the OECD annual inflation rate slowed to 1.4% in April, compared with 1.6% in March.
Merchandise trade growth increased in the major economies during the first quarter of 2013. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2012, the value of merchandise imports and exports for the total of G7 and BRICS countries increased by 1.3% and 2.8%, respectively.
A High Level Expert Group is to be set up to continue the work of the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission on Measuring Economic Performance and Social Progress.
Provisional estimates show that quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) in the OECD area fell by 0.2% in the fourth quarter of 2012, after a 0.3% increase in the previous quarter. This is the first contraction of GDP in the OECD area since the very sharp decline in the first quarter of 2009 (minus 2.3%).
The OECD unemployment rate decreased to 8.0% in March 2013, compared with 8.1% in the previous month. However, this small decline masks diverging patterns across countries.