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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France held steady and the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in January.

  • The leading index was unchanged in January, and there were downward revisions to the previous several months as actual inventory data for the fourth quarter of 2004 became available. As a result, the growth rate of the leading index has slowed to a 1.0 to 2.0 percent annual rate in recent months from 4.0 to 5.0 percent growth in the first half of 2004, and the strength among the components of the leading index has become somewhat less widespread.
  • Real GDP increased at a 3.1 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2004 after falling slightly in the third quarter. As a result, real GDP growth averaged a 1.5 percent rate in the second half of the year. The behavior of the leading index in recent months suggests that the economy should continue growing but this growth is likely to be sluggish in the near term.

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

Holding steady in January, the leading index now stands at 105.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in December and held steady in November. During the six-month span through January, the leading index increased 0.5 percent, and five of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 55.0 percent).

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

With the 0.2 percent increase in January, the coincident index now stands at 116.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in both December and November. During the six-month period through January, the coincident index increased 0.5 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 March 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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