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A key gauge of the current state of the economy stayed above the boom-or-bust line of 50 percent in July, spurred by upbeat figures for large-lot electricity consumption and sales by small and midsize companies, the government said Tuesday.

The index of coincident economic indicators stood at 77.8 percent, down from a revised 90.9 percent in June and topping the 50 percent line for the third straight month, the Cabinet Office said in a preliminary report.

A reading above 50 percent is considered a sign of economic expansion. A figure below that line is a sign of contraction.

Of the 11 indicators used to calculate the coincident index, nine indicators were available and seven of them showed positive readings, the report says.

Large-lot electricity consumption, sales by wholesalers, sales by small and midsize companies, and the ratio of job offers to job-seekers logged the best readings since the current economic recovery started in January 2002, it says.

Of the four, large-lot electricity consumption totaled a record-high 22.57 billion kwh, it says.

A Cabinet Office official said the index will probably top the 50 percent line in August, given a slew of upbeat economic data as the nation’s economic recovery continues.

The index of leading indicators, predicting economic developments about six months ahead, came to 66.7 percent, unchanged from a revised figure for June and moving above the threshold line for the 11th straight month.

The index of lagging indicators, designed to measure economic performance in the recent past, was at 50 percent, down from a revised 71.4 percent. It topped the line for 10 consecutive months through June.

The diffusion indexes compare the levels of various economic data for a reporting month with levels three months earlier.

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