Global Business Cycle Indicators


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Released: Monday, June 18, 2012

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for France declined 0.1 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) remained unchanged in April.

  • The Conference Board LEI for France decreased in April after two consecutive increases, as negative contributions from production expectations and stock prices more than offset positive contributions from the yield spread and new unemployment claims (inverted). In the six-month period ending April 2012, the leading economic index increased by 1.0 percent (about a 2.0 percent annual rate), a reversal from the 0.6 percent decrease (about a -1.2 percent annual rate) in the previous six months. However, the weaknesses among the leading indicators remain slightly more widespread than the strengths.
  • The Conference Board CEI for France, a measure of current economic activity, remained unchanged in April. Between October 2011 and April 2012, the coincident economic index decreased by 0.1 percent (about a -0.2 percent annual rate), a reversal from the 0.2 percent increase (about a 0.4 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. The strengths and weaknesses among the coincident indicators have become balanced in recent months. Meanwhile, real GDP grew at a 0.2 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2012, slightly slower than the 0.3 percent annual rate of growth in the fourth quarter of 2011.
  • The Conference Board LEI for France fell slightly in April; however, its six-month growth rate remains in positive territory. At the same time, The Conference Board CEI has been essentially flat in the past year. Taken together, the recent behavior of the composite economic indexes suggests that economic activity in France is unlikely to pick up in the near term.

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

With the decrease of 0.1 percent in April, the leading economic index now stands at 113.7 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.4 percent in March and increased 0.6 percent in February. During the six-month span through April, the index increased 1.0 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, wage and salaries*, and employment*, while personal consumption declined in April.

After remaining unchanged in April, the coincident economic index now stands at 104.4 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in March and increased 0.1 percent in February. During the six-month period through April, the index decreased 0.1 percent, with two of the four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

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.


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