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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France declined 0.5 percent, while the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in May.

  • The leading index fell in May, and April’s no change was revised down to a small decline. As a result, the leading index has declined slightly since March after staying essentially flat since October 2004, and weakness among the leading indicators has become more widespread.
  • Real GDP growth has been fluctuating around a 1.5 to 2.0 percent average annual rate since the end of 2003, including 1.4 percent growth in the first quarter of 2005. The more widespread weakness in the growth rate of the leading index in recent months suggests that sluggish economic growth is likely to continue in the near term.

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

With the decline of 0.5 percent in May, the leading index now stands at 104.9 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.1 percent in April and declined 0.2 percent in March. During the six-month span through May, the leading index decreased 0.7 percent, and five of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

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

With the 0.1 percent increase in May, the coincident index now stands at 116.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in April and held steady in March. During the six-month period through May, 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 July 13, 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, industrial production, and paid employment.

Also visit the web site of our research associate in France: http://www.coe-rexecode.fr/index.jsv

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

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