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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Thursday, May 13, 2004

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France increased 0.3 percent and the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in March.

  • The leading index increased in March, following no change in February and five consecutive increases in previous months (which were all revised up slightly). As a result, the leading index has increased by 2.4 percent over the past year, but has been increasing at a more rapid 4.0 to 5.0 percent annual rate since August 2003. In addition, the strength of the leading index has continued to be widespread. The coincident index increased slightly in March, keeping it on a slightly rising trend.
  • The growth rate of the leading index has been improving since late 2002, and correspondingly, real GDP increased at a 2.8 percent annual rate in the second half of 2003. The more rapid growth of the leading index since August 2003 suggests some further pickup in the rate of economic growth in the near term, although the leading index has not increased as rapidly as it did during previous strong economic recoveries.

Leading Indicators. Seven 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 personal consumption of manufacturing goods, building permits (residential), industrial new orders, the inverted bond yield, the inverted new unemployment claims, the ratio of the deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost for manufacturing*, and the consumer confidence index (opinion balance). The stock price index and the yield spread declined, while change in stocks* remained unchanged in March. (For details, see data availability section and tables.)

With the 0.3 percent increase in March, the leading index now stands at 103.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index held steady in February and increased 0.4 percent in January. During the six-month span through March, the leading index increased 2.3 percent, and nine of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 90.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Only one of the four components of the coincident index increased in March. The positive contributor to the index was retail sales. Paid employment* and real imports* held steady, while industrial production declined in March. (For details, see data availability section and tables.)

With the 0.1 percent increase in March, the coincident index now stands at 115.2 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in February and held steady in January. During the six-month period through March, the coincident index increased 0.4 percent, with three of the four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 87.5 percent).

Data Availability.Founded in 1916, The Conference Board is the premier business membership and research network. The Conference Board has become a global leader in helping executives build strong professional relationships, expand their business knowledge and find solutions to a wide range of business challenges. The Board’s Economics Program, under the direction of Chief Economist Gail Fosler, is a recognized source of forecasts, economic analysis and objective indicators such as the Leading Economic Indicators and the Consumer Confidence Index.

Notes: This role is part of a long tradition of research and education that stretches back to the compilation of the first continuous measure of the cost of living in the United States in 1919. In 1995, The Conference Board assumed responsibility for computing the composite indexes from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Conference Board now produces business cycle indexes for the U.S., Australia, France, Germany, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Spain and the U.K. To subscribe to any of these indexes, please visit www.globalindicators.org , contact the customer services at 212-339-0345, or email indicators@conference-board.org

THESE DATA ARE FOR ANALYSIS PURPOSES ONLY. NOT FOR REDISTRIBUTION, PUBLISHING, DATABASING, OR PUBLIC POSTING WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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