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Released: Thursday, June 12, 2003

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

  • The leading index has been declining in recent months, although at a slower rate. In addition to April’s increase, both the one-month and six-month diffusion indexes have picked up in the last several months. Stock prices, after a four-month decline, improved significantly. Consumer confidence and industrial new orders also advanced in April.
  • The coincident index was unchanged in April, continuing its flat trend. Although it is too early to conclude that the persistent weakness in the leading index since June 2000 is approaching an end, April’s increase as well as positive growth in GDP for the first quarter of 2003 are consistent with less economic weakness in 2003.

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

With the 0.3 percent increase in April, the leading index now stands at 101.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.2 percent in March and declined 0.2 percent again in February. During the six-month span through April, the leading index decreased 0.5 percent, and five of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Three of the components of the coincident index increased in April. The positive contributors to the index —in order from the larger positive contributor to the smaller—are paid employment*, industrial production*, and real imports*. Retail sales declined in April. (For details, see data availability section and tables.)

Holding steady in April, the coincident index now stands at 114.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.1 percent in March and decreased 0.1 percent again in February. During the six-month period through April, the coincident index decreased 0.1 percent, with two of the four series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 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 June 10, 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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