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Released: Wednesday, June 19, 2013

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

  • The Conference Board LEI for France decreased in April, as new unemployment claims, industrial new orders, building permits, and production expectations made large negative contributions to the index. However, in the six-month period ending in April, the leading economic index increased 1.1 percent (about a 2.1 percent annual rate), up from its increase of 0.3 percent (about a 0.5 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. In addition, the weaknesses among the leading indicators have become slightly more widespread than the strengths in recent months.
  • The Conference Board CEI for France, a measure of current economic activity, increased slightly in April. Between October 2012 and April 2013, the index remained unchanged, an improvement from its 0.4 percent decrease (about a -0.8 percent annual rate) in the previous six months. In addition, the strengths and weaknesses among the coincident indicators have become balanced 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.
  • After increasing through the first quarter, the LEI for France declined slightly in April, though its six-month growth rate remains positive. Meanwhile, the CEI has been flat over the past six months. Taken together, the recent behavior of the composite indexes suggests that economic activity may start to recover at a slow pace in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Of the seven components of the leading economic index, only the yield spread increased in April. The negative contributors to the index — beginning with the largest negative contributor — are inverted new unemployment claims, industrial new orders, 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*.    

With the decrease of 0.5 percent in April, the leading economic index now stands at 114.2 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.4 percent in both March and February. During the six-month span through April, the index increased 1.1 percent, and three of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 42.9 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. Three of the four components of the coincident economic index increased in April.  The positive contributors to the index were industrial production, personal consumption, and wage and salaries*.  Employment* declined in April.    

With the increase of 0.2 percent in April, the coincident economic index now stands at 104.0 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.2 percent in March and increased 0.1 percent in February.  During the six-month period through April, the index remained unchanged, with two of the four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 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 June 14, 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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