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December Chicago Fed Nat'l Activity Index Slips to Positive 0.02

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index for December dropped to positive 0.02 from a revised positive 0.27 reading in November, while the three-month moving average (CFNAI-MA3) rose to negative 0.11 from a revised negative 0.13 in November, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported Tuesday.

In December 2011, the index was positive 0.67, while the CFNAI-MA3 was positive 0.16 in that month.

The November index was originally reported as positive 0.10, while the CFNAI-MA3 was first reported as negative 0.20.

The negative reading for the CFNAI-MA3 indicates national economic growth was below its historical trend, and suggests subdued inflationary pressure from economic activity in the coming year, the Chicago Fed said.

The CFNAI diffusion index narrowed to negative 0.05 from a revised negative 0.12 the month before, first reported as negative 0.15.

The production indicators added 0.12 in the month (compared to a contribution of 0.49 in the previous month), while employment-related indicators contributed 0.09 in the month, after subtracting 0.02 in November, the Fed said.

Consumption and housing-related data subtracted 0.17 in the month, after subtracting 0.14 the prior month, while sales, orders and inventories subtracted 0.01 in the month, after subtracting 0.06 in November.

The index is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity. A zero value for the index indicates that the national economy is expanding at its historical trend rate of growth; negative values are associated with below-trend growth while positive values indicate above-trend growth.

The index was constructed using data available by January 17, with data for 49 of the 85 indicators having been published by then. The Fed said it used estimates for the missing data.

Overall, 41 of the 85 indicators made positive contributions to the index in the month and 44 made negative contributions. While 36 indicators were better than the previous month, 17 of these still made negative contributions to the index. Also, 48 deteriorated from November to December, and one was unchanged.

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