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Released: Thursday, August 14, 2003

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France remained flat, while the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in June.

  • The leading index held steady in June after increasing slightly in the previous two months. Declines in industrial new orders, housing, and consumer spending were offset by continuing increases in the financial components.
  • While the coincident index, a measure of current economic conditions, increased in June. It has been essentially flat over the past sixteen months. Retail sales improved to no change following four consecutive declines, and industrial production turned positive after three consecutive declines.
  • The 6-month growth rate of the LEI has improved to no change from a large decline in the second half of last year. In addition, the six-month diffusion index has picked up to 70 percent, indicating more widespread strength. This suggests slightly better economic growth in the near term, but whether this is the beginning of a sustained upturn remains to be seen.

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

Holding steady in June, the leading index now stands at 101.8 (1990=100). This index increased 0.1 percent in May and increased 0.3 percent in April. During the six-month span through June, the leading index declined 0.1 percent, and seven of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 70 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Three of the components of the coincident index increased in June. The positive contributors to the index —in order from the larger positive contributor to the smaller—are industrial production, paid employment*, and real imports*. Retail sales stayed unchanged in June.

With a 0.1 percent increase in June, the coincident index now stands at 114.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.1 percent in May and decreased 0.1 percent again in April. During the six-month period through June, 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 August 12, 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 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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