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Released: Thursday, February 13, 2003

The Conference Board reports today that both the leading index and the coincident index for France increased 0.1 percent in December.

  • The leading index gained moderately in December, after having declined for six consecutive months and staying flat for the last two months. The stock market dropped again in December, after a gain in the previous month, but industrial orders and personal consumption showed some improvement in December.
  • However, the weakness in the components of the leading index is still widespread, as shown by the six-month diffusion index dropping to 25 percent. This diffusion index, measuring the proportion of leading indictors that are rising, has been at or below 50 percent in the last six months.
  • ? The coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, continued on a moderate upward trend throughout the year of 2002. Taken together, the composite indexes suggest a slow-moving outlook for economic growth in France for the first half of 2003.

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

With the 0.1 percent increase in December, the leading index now stands at 102.4 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in both November and October. During the six-month span through December, the leading index decreased 0.9 percent, and three of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 25 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Three of the four components of the coincident index increased in December. The positive contributors to the index —in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest—are paid employment*, real imports* and retail sales. Industrial production* decreased in December. (For details, see data availability section and tables.)

With the 0.1 percent increase in December, the coincident index now stands at 114.9 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in November and increased 0.1 percent in October. During the six-month period through December, the coincident index increased 0.4 percent, with all of the four series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100 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 February 11, 2003. 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, 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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