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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France remained unchanged and the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in April.

  • The leading index remained unchanged in April, following three consecutive increases. Positive contributions from stock price, unemployment claims (inverted), and yield spread were offset by negative contributions from building permits, production expectations, and industrial new orders. The six-month growth rate of the leading index remained at 0.7 percent (about a 1.4 percent annual rate from October to April), but this is still below the 3.0 to 3.5 percent average annual rate in the first half of 2006. In addition, the strengths and weaknesses among the leading indicators have been somewhat balanced in April.
  • The coincident index increased slightly again in April. The six month growth rate of the coincident index has picked up to about a 2.0 to 2.5 percent annual rate in recent months, up from about a 1.0 to 2.0 percent annual rate in 2006. In addition, the strengths among the coincident indicators have become very widespread. At the same time, real GDP grew at a 2.0 percent annual rate (revised) in the first quarter, following slower growth of 1.1 percent (average annual rate) in the second half of 2006. The recent behavior of the leading and coincident indexes still suggests slow to moderate economic growth should continue in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Three of the seven 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 stock price index, the inverted new unemployment claims, and the yield spread. The negative contributors to the index — beginning with the largest negative contributor — are building permits (residential), production expectations, industrial new orders, and the ratio of the deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost for manufacturing*.

With the index remaining unchanged in April, the leading index now stands at 129.9 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.4 percent in March and increased 0.1 percent in February. During the six-month span through April, the leading index increased 0.7 percent, and three of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 42.9 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. Two of the four components of the coincident index increased in April. The positive contributors to the index were employment* and wage and salaries*. Industrial production and personal consumption declined in April.

With the increase of 0.2 percent in April, the coincident index now stands at 121.7 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in March and increased 0.2 percent in February. During the six-month period through April, the coincident index increased 1.1 percent, with all of the four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100.0 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 12, 2007. 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 please visit us here at http://www.conference-board.org/economics/bci/update.cfm?cid=3. Please also visit the web site of our research associate in France: http://www.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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