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Released: Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for France increased 0.3 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) decreased 0.2 percent in December.

  • The Conference Board LEI for France increased in December for the second time in the last three months. Large positive contributions from the yield spread and building permits more than offset a large negative contribution from industrial new orders. Despite this month’s gain, in the six-month period ending December 2011, the leading economic index decreased by 0.4 percent (about a -0.7 percent annual rate), after increasing by 2.7 percent (about a 5.5 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. In addition, the weaknesses among the leading indicators remained slightly more widespread than the strengths.
  • The Conference Board CEI for France, a measure of current economic activity, decreased slightly in December. Between June and December 2011, the coincident economic index decreased by 0.4 percent (about a -0.8 percent annual rate), a reversal from the 0.7 percent increase (about a 1.4 percent annual rate) during the first half of 2011. In addition, weaknesses among the coincident indicators have been very widespread in recent months. Meanwhile, real GDP grew at a 0.9 percent annual rate during the fourth quarter of 2011, following a revised 1.3 percent annual rate of growth during the third quarter.
  • After declining between July and September 2011, The Conference Board LEI for France increased for a second time in the three months through December, but its six-month growth rate remains slightly negative.  At the same time, The Conference Board CEI has declined for the third time in four months, and its six-month growth rate also remains negative. Taken together, the recent behavior of the composite indexes suggests that economic activity will likely remain weak in the near term.

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

With the increase of 0.3 percent in December, the leading economic index now stands at 113.0 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index declined 0.2 percent in November and increased 0.6 percent in October. During the six-month span through December, the index decreased 0.4 percent, and three of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 42.9 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS.  One of the four components of the coincident economic index increased in December.  Personal consumption was the only positive contributor to the index this month.  Industrial production, employment*, and wage and salaries* declined in December.

With the decrease of 0.2 percent in December, the coincident economic index now stands at 104.2 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in November and decreased 0.1 percent in October.  During the six-month period through December, the index decreased 0.4 percent, with one of the four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 25.0 percent).

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.

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

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