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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Thursday, September 15, 2005

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

  • The leading index increased sharply in July for the second consecutive increase, and there were large upward revisions to the previous few months as actual data for inventory changes for the second quarter of 2005 became available. In addition, new unemployment claims (inverted), industrial new orders, and stock prices also contributed strongly to the increase in the leading index in July. The growth rate of the leading index has continued to fluctuate in the 0.5 to 1.5 percent annual rate range in recent months, but this is still well below the peak rate of about 5.0 percent in the second quarter of 2004.
  • The coincident index declined slightly in July, and it has been on an essentially flat trend in recent months. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed to a 0.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter of 2005, down from the 1.5 to 2.0 percent average growth rate since the end of 2003. The behavior of the leading index in recent months suggests that the economy should continue to grow in the near term, at or perhaps slightly higher rate than the sluggish growth reported in the second quarter of 2005.

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

With the increase of 0.5 percent in July, the leading index now stands at 106.4 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in June and declined 0.3 percent in May. During the six-month span through July, the leading index increased 0.7 percent, and six of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 65.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators.Two of the four components of the coincident index increased in July. The positive contributors to the index were paid employment* and real imports*. Retail sales and industrial production declined in July.

With the 0.1 percent decrease in July, the coincident index now stands at 116.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in June and decreased 0.1 percent in May. During the six-month period through July, the coincident index increased 0.2 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 September 14, 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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