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Released: Tuesday, November 18, 2003

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

  • The leading index increased slightly in September, and as a result, the leading index has continued fluctuating around a flat or slightly rising trend since early this year. While the leading index has clearly not been rising rapidly, the slight increase this year is an improvement following the significant decline that occurred in the second half of 2002.
  • The coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, increased slightly in September. Consistent with the behavior of the leading index, the coincident index has been essentially flat in recent months following slight declines earlier in the year.
  • The improvement in the leading index since early this year is signaling a mild upturn in real GDP in the second half of 2003 following slight declines over the previous three quarters (a -0.6 percent average annual rate).

Leading Indicators.

Five 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 building permits (residential), personal consumption of manufacturing goods, the stock price index, the yield spread, and change in stocks*. Four of the ten components in the leading index decreased in September. The negative contributors to the index—in order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest—are inverted new unemployment claims, industrial new orders, the inverted bond yield, 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 September. (For details, see data availability section and tables.)

With the increase of 0.1 percent in September, the leading index now stands at 101.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.2 percent in August and increased 0.4 percent in July. During the six-month span through September, the leading index increased 0.3 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 September. The positive contributors to the index are retail sales, industrial production, and real imports*. Paid employment* stayed unchanged in September. (For details, see data availability section and tables.)

With the increase of 0.1 percent in September, the coincident index now stands at 114.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.1 percent in August and increased 0.1 percent in July. During the six-month period through September, the coincident index decreased 0.2 percent, with only one of the four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 25.0 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 November 14, 2003. Some series are estimated as noted below.

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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