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Released: Friday, May 20, 2011

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for France increased 0.9 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) remained unchanged in March.

  • The Conference Board LEI for France increased sharply in March, following large gains in the previous three months. Industrial new orders, the yield spread and production expectations made substantial positive contributions to the index this month. The six-month change in the index stands at 2.9 percent (a 5.9 percent annual rate) in the period ending March 2011, in line with the growth rate that prevailed during the previous six months. In addition, the strengths among the leading indicators have been widespread in recent months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for France, a measure of current economic activity, remained unchanged in March. Between September 2010 and March 2011, the coincident economic index increased 1.0 percent (a 1.9 percent annual rate), up slightly from 0.7 percent (a 1.4 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. In addition, the strengths among the coincident indicators have been very widespread, with all four components advancing in recent months. Meanwhile, real GDP increased at a 4.0 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2011, stronger than the growth of 1.4 percent annual rate in the final quarter of 2010.
  • The Conference Board LEI for France has been on a general upward trend since April 2009. Its six-month growth rate has remained fairly stable in recent months amid widespread strengths among its components.  Meanwhile, The Conference Board CEI for France remained flat in March, but the index has been on a rising trend since reaching its most recent trough in August 2009. Taken together, the behavior of the composite indexes suggests that economic activity should expand moderately in the near term.

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

With the increase of 0.9 percent in March, the leading economic index now stands at 114.1 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.5 percent in February and increased 0.9 percent in January. During the six-month span through March, the index increased 2.9 percent, and six of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 85.7 percent).

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

After remaining unchanged in March, the coincident economic index now stands at 105.1 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in February and increased 0.2 percent in January.  During the six-month period through March, the index increased 1.0 percent, with all four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100.0 percent).

Prior to March 1994, the residential building permits component of The Conference Board LEI for France is calculated as permits granted minus permits cancelled. From March 1994 going forward, the permits granted series replaces residential building permits (an original component of the LEI) because of delays in the publication of permits cancelled data by the source agency.  The impact on the LEI is negligible. If the missing series becomes available, the original definition of the housing permits series may be restored.

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE BOARD

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.

Please also visit the website of our research associate in France:
http://www.coe-rexecode.fr/public

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

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