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Global Business Cycle Indicators


Press Release Archive

Released: Monday, May 21, 2012

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for France increased 0.4 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) remained unchanged in March.

  • The Conference Board LEI for France increased again in March, as large positive contributions from the yield spread, industrial new orders and new unemployment claims (inverted) more than offset a large negative contribution from residential building permits. In the six-month period ending March 2012, the leading economic index increased by 1.4 percent (about a 2.9 percent annual rate), a turnaround from the 0.8 percent decrease (about a -1.6 percent annual rate) in the previous six months. However, the weaknesses among the leading indicators have remained slightly more widespread than the strengths recently.
  • The Conference Board CEI for France, a measure of current economic activity, remained unchanged in March. Between September 2011 and March 2012, the coincident economic index decreased by 0.1 percent (about a -0.2 percent annual rate), a reversal from the 0.1 percent increase (about a 0.2 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. The weaknesses among the coincident indicators have remained more widespread than the strengths in recent months. Meanwhile, real GDP grew at a 0.2 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2012, slightly below the 0.3 percent annual rate of growth in the fourth quarter of 2011.
  • The Conference Board LEI for France has been improving moderately in recent months, and as a result, its six-month growth rate has moved into positive territory in the last two months. At the same time, The Conference Board CEI has fluctuated around a flat trend during the past year. Taken together, the recent behavior of the composite economic indexes suggests that the risk of a contraction in economic activity may be decreasing in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Five 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 the yield spread, industrial new orders, the inverted new unemployment claims, production expectations, and the stock price index.  The negative contributors to the index — beginning with the larger negative contributor — are building permits (residential) and the ratio of the deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost in manufacturing.

With the increase of 0.4 percent in March, the leading economic index now stands at 113.8 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.6 percent in February and remained unchanged in January. During the six-month span through March, the index increased 1.4 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 March.  The positive contributors to the index were wage and salaries*, personal consumption, and employment*, while industrial production made the only negative contribution in March.

After remaining unchanged in March, the coincident economic index now stands at 104.4 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in February and decreased 0.1 percent in January.  During the six-month period through March, the index decreased 0.1 percent, with one of the four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 37.5 percent).


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