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Released: Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the Euro Area increased 1.0 percent in March to 109.2 (2004 = 100), following a 0.5 percent increase in February and a 0.9 percent increase in January. Five of the eight components contributed positively to the index this month and its six-month growth rate has slowed since September 2009.

Download a PDF of the technical notes for underlying detail, diffusion indexes, components, contributions and graphs.

Download a PDF of the press release with graph and summary table.

Said Jean-Claude Manini, The Conference Board Senior Economist for Europe: "The monthly pick-up in the LEI for the Euro Area is mainly the result of rebounding confidence indicators, but it is too early to treat this as an improvement in the trend of moderating growth in the LEI. Moreover, the growth rate for the CEI remains very slow and current forecasts suggest no short-term improvement in job creation. The economy continues to face substantial headwinds related to weak construction, volatile orders and increased concerns over public finances."

The Conference Board LEI for the Euro Area has increased by 14.3 percent since its March 2009 trough. Meanwhile, The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the Euro Area, a measure of current economic activity, was unchanged in March, remaining at 101.8 (2004 = 100) according to preliminary estimates*. It also remained unchanged in both February and January. The six-month growth rate for The Conference Board CEI for the Euro Area has been slightly positive during the past four months.

The Conference Board LEI for the Euro Area aggregates eight economic indicators that measure activity in the Euro Area as a whole (rather than indicators of individual member countries), each of which has proven accurate on its own. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out so-called "noise" to show underlying trends more clearly.

About The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the Euro Area

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® for the Euro Area was launched in January 2009. Plotted back to 1987, this index has successfully signaled turning points in the business cycle of the bloc of countries that now constitute the Euro Area, defined by the common currency zone.

The Conference Board currently produces leading economic indexes for nine other individual countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Japan, Australia, Korea and Mexico.

Click here for further background information on The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the Euro Area.

The eight components of The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® for the Euro Area include:

Economic Sentiment Index (source: European Commission DG-ECFIN)
Index of Residential Building Permits Granted (source: Eurostat)
Index of Capital Goods New Orders (source: Eurostat)
EURO STOXX® Index (source: STOXX Limited)
Money Supply (M2) (source: European Central Bank)
Interest Rate Spread (source: ECB)
Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (source: Markit Economics)
Eurozone Service Sector Future Business Activity Expectations Index (source: Markit Economics)

To view The Conference Board calendar of 2010 indicator releases: http://www.conference-board.org/economics/indicators.cfm

* Series in The Conference Board LEI for the Euro Area that are based on The Conference Board estimates are real money supply, residential building permits and new orders of capital goods. All series in The Conference Board CEI for the Euro Area are based on The Conference Board estimates (employment, industrial production, retail trade and manufacturing turnover).

About The Conference Board

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world's leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.

THESE DATA ARE FOR ANALYSIS PURPOSES ONLY. NOT FOR REDISTRIBUTION, PUBLISHING, DATABASING, OR PUBLIC POSTING WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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