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Released: Monday, April 22, 2013

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for France increased 0.6 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) remained unchanged in February.

  • The Conference Board LEI for France continued to increase in February, led by large positive contributions from production expectations and the yield spread. The index was revised downward for September 2012 through January 2013, after fourth-quarter ratio deflator of value added to unit labor cost data became available. In the six-month period ending February, the leading economic index increased 1.1 percent (about a 2.3 percent annual rate), up from its increase of 0.9 percent (about a 1.8 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. In addition, the strengths among the leading indicators have become slightly more widespread than the weaknesses in recent months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for France, a measure of current economic activity, was unchanged in February. Between August 2012 and February 2013, the index fell 0.4 percent (about a -0.8 percent annual rate), slightly steeper than its decline of 0.3 percent (about a -0.6 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 1.2 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2012, after increasing at a 0.7 percent rate in the third quarter.  
  • The LEI for France improved for the second consecutive month, and its six-month growth rate remains in positive territory. However, the CEI for France has been on a downward trend for more than a year and the weaknesses among its components are widespread. Taken together, the recent behavior of the composite indexes suggests that economic activity may begin improving slowly in the near term.

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

With the increase of 0.6 percent in February, the leading economic index now stands at 114.5 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.4 percent in January and declined 0.3 percent in December. During the six-month span through February, the index increased 1.1 percent, and four of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 57.1 percent).
      

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

With no change in February, the coincident economic index now stands at 103.9 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.2 percent in January and increased 0.2 percent in December. During the six-month period through February, 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).

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 April 17, 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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