The conference board leading economic index (LEI) for the UK decreased 0.5 per cent in August, and now stands at 104.0. That compares with an increase of 0.3 in July. Such a large decline suggests the outlook for the UK is weakening. “The worsening of the external environment – reflected in the recent plunge in the LEI for the Euro Area – may add to an already weak domestic demand outlook,” said the conference board’s senior economist for Europe, Jean-Claude Manini. “If exports or the more accommodative monetary policy fail to support growth, current economic conditions may deteriorate further and lead to a new downturn.” The index aims to measure economic activity and is compiled from data including consumer confidence, expected output and productivity.