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Released: Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for France remained unchanged and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) decreased 0.1 percent in January.

  • The Conference Board LEI for France remained unchanged in January after a small gain last month. Large positive contributions from the yield spread and stock prices offset negative contributions from production expectations and residential building permits. In the six-month period ending January 2012, the leading economic index decreased by 0.3 percent (about a -0.5 percent annual rate), after increasing by 1.5 percent (about a 3.1 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. In addition, the weaknesses among the leading indicators have been slightly more widespread than the strengths in recent months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for France, a measure of current economic activity, decreased slightly in January. Between July 2011 and January 2012, the coincident economic index decreased by 0.5 percent (about a -1.0 percent annual rate), a reversal from the 0.5 percent increase (about a 1.0 percent annual rate) in previous six months. In addition, the 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.
  • In January, The Conference Board LEI for France remained unchanged, and it has been fluctuating around an essentially flat trend since the third quarter of 2011, while its six-month growth rate remained slightly negative. At the same time, The Conference Board CEI for France has been on a downward trend since August 2011, and its six-month growth rate is also negative. Taken together, the recent behavior of the composite indexes suggests that economic activity will continue to remain weak in the near term.

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

After remaining unchanged in January, the leading economic index now stands at 113.0 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in December and declined 0.1 percent in November. During the six-month span through January, the index decreased 0.3 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 economic index increased in January.  The positive contributors to the index were industrial production and wage and salaries*.  Personal consumption and employment* declined in January.

With the decrease of 0.1 percent in January, the coincident economic index now stands at 104.2 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in December and decreased 0.1 percent in November.  During the six-month period through January, the index decreased 0.5 percent, with all components making negative contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 0.0 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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