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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France declined 0.2 percent, while the coincident index was unchanged in March.

  • The leading index declined slightly in March following a small increase in February. As a result, the growth rate of the leading index has continued slowing to a 0.0 to 1.0 percent annual rate over the last three to six months, down from 4.0 to 5.0 percent growth in the first half of 2004. In addition, the strengths and weaknesses among the leading indicators have been relatively balanced in recent months.
  • Real GDP growth slowed to a 1.7 percent average annual rate in the second half of 2004 (including 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter and 0.0 percent in the third quarter), down from 3.2 percent growth over the previous four quarters. The slowdown in the growth rate of the leading index in recent months suggests that the economy will continue to grow in the near term, but that growth is likely to remain moderate.

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

With the decline of 0.2 percent in March, the leading index now stands at 105.7 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in February and was unchanged in January. During the six-month span through March, the leading index increased 0.2 percent, and six of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 60.0 percent).

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

Holding steady in March, the coincident index now stands at 116.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in both February and January. During the six-month period through March, the coincident index increased 0.3 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 May 16, 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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