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Global Business Cycle Indicators


Press Release Archive

Released: Tuesday, July 15, 2003

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France increased 0.1 percent, while the coincident index held steady in May.

  • The leading index continued to gain moderately in May due to improvement in financial indicators, consumer confidence, labor market, and the housing sector. In addition, there are early signs that the moderate strength has become more widespread, with the diffusion index now above 50 percent.
  • The coincident index continued its flat trend in May. The flatness in this index and sluggish GDP growth in the last two years follow the large and prolonged decline in the leading index since June 2000.
  • The 6-month growth rate of the LEI has improved to no change over the last six months from a large decline in the second half of last year, suggesting slightly better economic growth in the near term. However, the fundamental direction of the coincident index and GDP over the longer term depends on whether the slight improvement in the leading index in the last months continues.

Leading Indicators. Six of the ten components of the leading index increased in May. The positive contributors to the index —in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest— are the inverted bond yield, inverted new unemployment claims, the consumer confidence index (opinion balance), the stock price index, building permits (residential), change in stocks*. Four components decreased in May. The negative contributors to the index —in order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest—are industrial new orders, the yield spread, personal consumption of manufacturing goods, and the ratio of the deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost for manufacturing*. (For details, see data availability section and tables.)

With the 0.1 percent increase in May, the leading index now stands at 101.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in April and declined 0.2 percent again in March. During the six-month span through May, the leading index held steady, and six of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 60 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Three of the components of the coincident index increased in May. The positive contributors to the index —in order from the larger positive contributor to the smaller—are paid employment*, industrial production*, and real imports*. Retail sales declined in May.

Holding steady in May, the coincident index now stands at 114.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.1 percent in April and held steady in March. During the six-month period through May, the coincident index decreased 0.2 percent, with two of the four series making positive contributions (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

Data Availability. The data series used by The Conference Board to compute the two composite indexes reported in the tables in this release are those available "as of" 10 A.M. ET on July 11, 2003. Some series are estimated as noted below.

NOTES: Series in the leading index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are change in stocks and ratio deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost in manufacturing. Series in the coincident index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are industrial production, real imports, and paid employment.