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Released: Tuesday, November 12, 2002

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France decreased 0.2 percent, and the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in September.

  • The leading index continued its downward trend in September, offsetting a moderate increase in the beginning of this year. With this month’s decline, the leading index is now back to its October 1997 level.
  • The stock market, which has declined for the last seven consecutive months, continued to be one of the largest contributors to the decrease in the leading index. Industrial new orders continued to be sluggish, coupled with a weakening consumer confidence index, making the recovery of the French economy more vulnerable.
  • ? The sluggish growth in the coincident index continued in September. While the index is now 0.7 percent above its level from a year ago, the year-over-year growth rate in the coincident index over last year is significantly lower than during 1999 to 2001.

Leading Indicators. Four of the ten components of the leading index increased in September. The positive contributors to the index —in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest— are inverted bond yields, change in stocks*, building permits (residential), and the ratio of the deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost for manufacturing*. Five of the ten components of the leading index decreased in September. The negative contributors to the index —in order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest—are the stock price index, inverted new unemployment claims, industrial new orders, consumer confidence index (opinion balance), and yield spread. Personal consumption of manufacturing goods remained unchanged in September.

With the decrease of 0.2 percent in September, the leading index now stands at 102.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in August and decreased 0.3 percent in July. During the six-month span through September, the leading index decreased 0.6 percent, and five of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Three of the four components of the coincident index increased in September. The positive contributors to the index —in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest—are paid employment*, real imports* and industrial production*. Retail sales* remained unchanged.

With the increase of 0.1 percent in September, the coincident index now stands at 114.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in August and increased 0.2 percent in July. During the six-month period through September, the coincident index increased 0.3 percent, with three of the four series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75 percent).

Data Availability. The data series used by The Conference Board to compute the two composite indexes reported in the tables in this release are those available “as of” 10 A.M. ET on November 11, 2002. Some series are estimated as noted below.

*Notes: Series in the leading index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are change in stocks and ratio deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost in manufacturing. Series in the coincident index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are industrial production, real imports, retail sales and paid employment.

For further information, please visit our research associate in France at www.coe-rexecode.fr/index.jsv

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

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