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Released: Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for France increased 0.5 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) decreased 0.1 percent in March.

  • The Conference Board LEI for France continued to increase in March, led by large positive contributions from residential building permit and the yield spread. In the six-month period ending in March, the leading economic index increased 1.1 percent (about a 2.1 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 been slightly more widespread than the weaknesses in recent months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for France, a measure of current economic activity, declined 0.1 percent in March. Between September 2012 and March 2013, the index fell 0.3 percent (about a -0.6 percent annual rate), the same as for the previous six months. In addition, the weaknesses among the coincident indicators have remained more widespread than the strengths in recent months. Meanwhile, real GDP contracted at a 0.7 percent (annual rate) in the first quarter of 2013, following a decline of 0.8 percent (annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2012.
  • The LEI for France has increased throughout the first quarter of this year, and its six-month growth rate remains in positive territory. However, the CEI 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 in the near term, though at a slow pace.

LEADING INDICATORS. Three 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 residential building permits, the yield spread, and the stock price index.  The negative contributors to the index — beginning with the largest negative contributor — are production expectations, the inverted new unemployment claims, and the ratio of the deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost in manufacturing*.  Industrial new orders remained unchanged in March.

Wit the increase of 0.5 percent in March, the leading economic index now stands at 114.9 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.5 percent in February and increased 0.4 percent in January. During the six-month span through March, the index increased 1.1 percent, and four of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 64.3 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS.  Of the four components of the coincident economic index, wage and salaries* made the only positive contribution in March.  Industrial production, employment*, and personal consumption declined in March.

With the decrease of 0.1 percent in March, the coincident economic index now stands at 103.8 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index was unchanged in February and decreased 0.1 percent in January.  During the six-month period through March, the index decreased 0.3 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 May 16, 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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