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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France increased 0.4 percent and the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in March.

  • The leading index increased again in March, driven by large positive contributions from building permits and industrial new orders. With this month's gain, the six-month growth rate of the leading index picked up to 0.8 percent (about a 1.6 percent annual rate from September to March). But this is still below the 3.0 to 3.5 percent average annual rate in the first half of 2006. In addition, the strengths and weaknesses among the leading indicators have become somewhat more balanced in March.
  • The coincident index increased slightly again in March. After fluctuating between 1.0 to 2.0 percent annual rate in 2006, the six month growth rate of the coincident index has picked up to about a 1.8 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, and the strengths among the coincident indicators have become more widespread. At the same time, real GDP grew to an almost 2.4 percent annual rate in the first quarter, following slower growth of 1.0 percent (average annual rate) in the second half of 2006. The recent behavior of the leading and coincident indexes still suggest slow to moderate economic growth is likely to continue in the near term.

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

With the increase of 0.4 percent in March, the leading index now stands at 130 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in February and increased 0.2 percent in January. During the six-month span through March, the leading index increased 0.8 percent, and four of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 57.1 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. All four components of the coincident index increased in March. The positive contributors to the index were wage and salaries*, employment*, personal consumption, and industrial production.

With the increase of 0.1 percent in March, the coincident index now stands at 121.2 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in February and increased 0.1 percent in January. During the six-month period through March, the coincident index increased 0.9 percent, with all four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100.0 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 May 14, 2007. Some series are estimated as noted below.

NOTES: Series in the leading index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are 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 number of employees and wage and salaries.

With the May 2006 release the FRANCE LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS AND RELATED COMPOSITE INDEXES underwent a benchmark revision. For more information on these benchmark revisions please visit http://www.conference-board.org/economics/bci/update.cfm?cid=3. Also visit the web site of our research associate in France: http://www.rexecode.fr/index.jsv

THESE DATA ARE FOR ANALYSIS PURPOSES ONLY. NOT FOR REDISTRIBUTION, PUBLISHING, DATABASING, OR PUBLIC POSTING WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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