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Released: Wednesday, February 16, 2005

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

  • The leading index increased slightly in December following no change in November. Despite only a small gain in the last two months, the leading index increased at a 2.0 to 3.0 percent annual rate in the second half of 2004, but this is down from 4.0 to 5.0 percent growth in the first half of the year. The strength among components of the leading index continues to be somewhat widespread.
  • Real GDP increased at a 2.9 percent average annual rate in the second half of 2003 and first half of 2004, fell slightly in the third quarter of 2004, and then rebounded to a 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter. The recent behavior of the leading index suggests that this stronger (slightly above trend) rate of economic growth should persist in the near term.

Leading Indicators.Five of the ten components of the leading index increased in December. 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 inverted bond yield, the inverted new unemployment claims, and the stock price index. The consumer confidence index (opinion balance), change in stocks*, industrial new orders, the yield spread, and the ratio of the deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost for manufacturing* declined in December. (For details, see data availability section and tables.)

With the 0.1 percent increase in December, the leading index now stands at 105.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index held steady in November and increased 0.2 percent in October. During the six-month span through December, the leading index increased 1.1 percent, and seven of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 70.0 percent).

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

With the 0.1 percent increase in December, the coincident index now stands at 116.1 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in both November and October. During the six-month period through December, the coincident index increased 0.4 percent, with three of the four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0 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 February 15, 2005. 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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