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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Tuesday, May 13, 2003

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France declined 0.3 percent, while the coincident index held steady in March.

  • With March’s decline, the leading index has now declined for the last ten consecutive months. The recent weakness in the leading index has been primarily due to weakness in stock prices and consumer confidence.
  • Economic growth has been responding to the persistent weakness in the leading index since June 2000. Real GDP growth has slowed significantly for the last seven quarters, and the most recent weakness in the leading index suggests further sluggishness.
  • The coincident index was flat in March. The recent growth in the coincident index has been much slower than in the late 1990s, reflecting weakening economic conditions since mid-2000.

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

With the 0.3 percent decrease in March, the leading index now stands at 100.9 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.2 percent in February and declined 0.4 percent in January. During the six-month span through March, the leading index decreased 1.3 percent, and four of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 40 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Two of the components of the coincident index increased in March. The positive contributors to the index —in order from the larger positive contributor to the smaller—are paid employment* and real imports*. Retail sales and industrial production* declined in March.

Holding steady in March, the coincident index now stands at 115.0 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in February and increased 0.1 percent again in January. During the six-month period through March, the coincident index increased 0.3 percent, with three of the four series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0 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 May 9, 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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