August 15, 2008 / 2:33 PM / 12 years ago

Gauge of future US economic growth at 5-year low-ECRI

NEW YORK, Aug 15 (Reuters) - A gauge of future U.S. economic growth fell to its lowest level in more than five years and its annualized growth rate hit a four-month low, indicating the business cycle is not expected to enter a recovery phase in the near term, a research group said Friday.

The Economic Cycle Research Institute, a New York-based independent forecasting group, said its Weekly Leading Index fell to 126.4 in the week to Aug. 8 from 126.9 in the previous period, revised down from 127.5.

The index fell to its lowest since the week to July 4, 2003 due to weaker money supply growth and lower stock prices. The decline was partly offset by lower jobless claims, said Lakshman Achuthan, managing director at ECRI, in an instant message interview.

The index’s annualized growth rate plunged to an 18-week low to negative 10.8 percent from minus 9.6 percent, revised down from minus 8.9 percent.

“With the WLI plunging over the last five weeks to a new five-year low, the likelihood of a near-term business cycle recovery has dwindled markedly,” Achuthan wrote. (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Theodore d’Afflisio)

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