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Released: Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for France increased 0.5 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) decreased 0.2 percent in January.

  • The Conference Board LEI for France increased in January, with positive contributions from the yield spread and inverted new unemployment claims more than offsetting the negative contribution from production expectations. In the six-month period ending January, the leading economic index increased 1.6 percent (about a 3.2 percent annual rate), up from its increase of 0.8 percent (about a 1.6 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. In addition, the strengths among the leading indicators have remained slightly more widespread than the weaknesses in recent months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for France, a measure of current economic activity, decreased slightly in January. Between July 2012 and January 2013, the index fell 0.5 percent (about a -1.0 percent annual rate), steeper than its decline of 0.1 percent (about a -0.2 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. In addition, the weaknesses among the coincident indicators have become more widespread than the strengths in recent months. Meanwhile, real GDP contracted at a 1.1 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2012, after increasing at a 0.6 percent rate in the third quarter and decreasing at a 0.4 percent in the second quarter.  
  • The LEI for France improved slightly this month, and while the index has been volatile recently, its six-month growth rate remains in positive territory. However, the CEI for France has been declining for most of the past year and the weaknesses among the components are widespread. Taken together, the recent behavior of the composite indexes suggests that while economic growth is slightly negative, it may begin to slowly improve in the near term.

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

With the increase of 0.5 percent in January, the leading economic index now stands at 114.4 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.3 percent in December and increased 0.5 percent in November. During the six-month span through January, the index increased 1.6 percent, and four of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 57.1 percent).

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

With the decrease of 0.2 percent in January, the coincident economic index now stands at 103.9 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in December and was unchanged in November. During the six-month period through January, the index decreased 0.5 percent, with one of the four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 25.0 percent).

* See notes under data availability.

DATA AVAILABILITY. The data series used to compute The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for France and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for France reported in this release are those available “as of” 10 A.M. ET on March 18, 2013.  Some series are estimated as noted below.

*The series in The Conference Board LEI for France that is based on our estimates is the ratio of the deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost in manufacturing. Series in The Conference Board CEI for France that are based on our estimates are number of employees and wage and salaries.

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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