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Released: Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France increased 0.2 percent and the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in July.

  • The leading index increased again in July, plus there were large upward revisions to the previous months as actual data for quarterly components became available. This has moderated the recent slowdown in the growth rate of the leading index to about 3.0 percent (annual rate) from 4.0-5.0 percent earlier this year. The growth in the leading index continues to be widespread.
  • The coincident index also increased slightly in July and is still on a steady upward trend. Correspondingly, real GDP increased at a 3.3 percent average rate (annualized) in the first half of 2004. The slightly slower growth in the leading index suggests that the economy should continue growing at or slightly below this average rate in the near term.

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

With the 0.2 percent increase in July, the leading index now stands at 104.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in June and remained unchanged in May. During the six-month span through July, the leading index increased 1.5 percent, and six of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 65.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators.Three of the four components of the coincident index increased in July. The positive contributors to the index were retail sales, real imports*, and paid employment*. Industrial production held steady in July. (For details, see data availability section and tables.)

With the 0.1 percent increase in July, the coincident index now stands at 115.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in June and increased 0.1 percent in May. During the six-month period through July, the coincident index increased 0.8 percent, with all four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100.0 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 September 15, 2004. 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 the deflator of real imports and paid employment.

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

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