Composite leading indicators (CLIs), designed to anticipate turning-points in economic activity relative to trend, point to growth picking up in most major economies.
Real GDP in the OECD area fell 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with growth of 0.3% in the third quarter. Destocking was the main driver, dragging down growth by 0.3 percentage point.
Consumer prices in the OECD area rose by 1.8% in the year to February 2013, compared with 1.7% in the year to January 2013. This slight increase in the annual rate of inflation masks opposing movements in energy and food prices.
Growth in Unit labour costs (ULCs) in the OECD area accelerated to 0.6% in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to 0.2% in the third quarter. Overall, growth in labour compensation per unit of labour input slowed marginally (to 0.3% compared to 0.4% in the third quarter). But this was more than offset by a significant slowdown in labour productivity (minus 0.3% compared to plus 0.2% in the previous quarter).
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Quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the G20 area grew by 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with 0.6% in the third quarter, according to preliminary estimates. The aggregate G20 GDP growth rate however continues to mask diverging patterns across the world’s largest economies.