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Released: Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France remained unchanged and the coincident index increased 0.3 percent in August.

  • The leading index remained unchanged in August, following an increase in July. Gains from the yield spread and stock price were offset by negative contributions from new unemployment claims. From February to August, the leading index grew at an annualized rate of about 5.3 percent. In addition, the strengths among the leading indicators have been more widespread than weaknesses in recent months.
  • The coincident index increased slightly in August. Despite some short term volatility, this index of current economic activity has been on a slightly rising trend since mid-2003 and it continues to grow at about a 1.3 percent annual rate in recent months. The strengths among the coincident indicators have been more widespread in recent months. At the same time, real GDP increased at a 4.7 percent annual rate in the second quarter, following a 2.0 percent annual rate in the first quarter. The recent behavior of the leading index suggests that economic growth is likely to continue at a moderate to strong rate in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Four of the seven components of the leading index increased in August. The positive contributors to the index — in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest — are the stock price index, the yield spread, the ratio of the deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost for manufacturing*, and production expectations. The negative contributors to the index — beginning with the largest negative contributor — are the inverted new unemployment claims and building permits (residential). Industrial new orders remained unchanged in August.

Holding steady in August, the leading index now stands at 129.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.4 percent in July and remained unchanged in June. During the six-month span through August, the leading index increased 2.6 percent, and five of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 71.4 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. All four components of the coincident index increased in August. The positive contributors to the index were personal consumption, employment*, industrial production, and wage and salaries*.

With the increase of 0.3 percent in August, the coincident index now stands at 120.1 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in July and increased 0.1 percent in June. During the six-month period through August, the coincident index increased 0.7 percent, with three of the four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 87.5 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 October 10, 2006. Some series are estimated as noted below.

NOTES: Series in the leading index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are 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 number of employees and wage and salaries.

With the May 2006 release the FRANCE LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS AND RELATED COMPOSITE INDEXES underwent a benchmark revision. For more information on these benchmark revisions look here on our website at


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