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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Conference Board reports today that both the leading and coincident indexes for France were unchanged in April.

  • The leading index was unchanged in April following a small decline in March, and as a result, the growth rate of the leading index has continued to slow. The leading index has now been fluctuating around a flat level since October 2004, down from very rapid 4.0 percent (annual rate) growth over the previous twelve months. In addition, the strengths and weaknesses among the leading indicators have been relatively balanced in recent months.
  • Real GDP growth has been fluctuating around a 1.5 to 2.0 percent average annual rate since the end of 2003, including 0.9 percent growth in the first quarter of 2005. The slowdown in the growth rate of the leading index in recent months suggests that economic growth is likely to remain sluggish in the near term.

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

Holding steady in April, the leading index now stands at 105.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.3 percent in March and increased 0.2 percent in February. During the six-month span through April, the leading index decreased 0.1 percent, and five of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

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

Holding steady in April, the coincident index now stands at 116.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index held steady in March and increased 0.1 percent in February. During the six-month period through April, the coincident index increased 0.3 percent, with two of the four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 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 June 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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