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Released: Friday, July 18, 2014

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for France declined 0.2 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) decreased 0.1 percent in May.

  • The Conference Board LEI for France decreased slightly in May. Negative contributions from production expectations and industrial new orders more than offset large positive contributions from the yield spread and building permits. Between November 2013 and May 2014, the leading economic index advanced 0.9 percent (about a 1.9 percent annual rate), down from its increase of 1.4 percent (about a 2.8 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, edged down in May. During the six-month period ending in May, the coincident economic index decreased 0.2 percent (about a -0.4 percent annual rate), a reversal from its increase of 0.2 percent (about a 0.4 percent annual rate) over the previous six months. The weaknesses among the coincident indicators have become more widespread than the strengths in recent months. Meanwhile, real GDP increased 0.2 percent (annual rate) in the first quarter of 2014, slower than the 0.7 percent (annual rate) increase in the fourth quarter of 2013.
  • The upward trend in the LEI has moderated, and its six-month growth rate has slowed over the last six months. Meanwhile, despite month-to-month volatility, the CEI has been relatively flat since October 2012, and its six-month growth rate has turned slightly negative for the first time in seven months. Taken together, the recent behavior of the composite indexes suggests that the growth in economic activity is unlikely to pick up in the near term.

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

With the decrease of 0.2 percent in May, the leading economic index now stands at 118.2 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in April and increased 0.4 percent in March. During the six-month span through May, the index increased 0.9 percent, and four of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 64.3 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. Among the CEI’s four components, only wage and salaries* increased in May. Industrial production and employment* declined in May, while personal consumption of manufactured goods remained unchanged.

With the decrease of 0.1 percent in May, the coincident economic index now stands at 103.4 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in April and decreased 0.1 percent in March. During the six-month period through May, the index decreased 0.2 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 July 15, 2014. 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 and (inverted) new unemployment claims. Series in The Conference Board CEI for France that are based on our estimates are number of employees and wage and salaries.


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Technical Notes
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