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Released: Wednesday, February 20, 2013

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

  • The Conference Board LEI for France decreased slightly in December, as the largest negative contribution from residential building permits more than offset positive contributions from the yield spread and stock prices. Despite the small decline this month, in the second half of 2012, the leading economic index increased 1.3 percent (about a 2.7 percent annual rate), improving from its increase of 0.4 percent (about a 0.9 percent annual rate) during the first half of the year. 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, increased modestly in December. Between June and December 2012, the index decreased 0.2 percent (about a -0.4 percent annual rate), slightly steeper than its decline of 0.1 percent (about a -0.2 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. In addition, the strengths and weaknesses among the coincident indicators have become balanced in recent months. Meanwhile, real GDP contracted at a 1.1 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2012, after increasing at a 0.6 percent rate in the third quarter and decreasing at a 0.4 percent in the second quarter.  
  • Though the LEI for France decreased twice in the last three months, its six-month growth rate remains in positive territory. Meanwhile, the CEI for France started to pick up in December after a slight decline during the past year. Taken together, the recent behavior of the composite indexes suggests that economic activity may recover slowly in the near term.

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

With the decrease of 0.2 percent in December, the leading economic index now stands at 113.8 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index increased 0.4 percent in November and declined 0.4 percent in October. During the six-month span through December, the index increased 1.3 percent, and four of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 57.1 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS.  Two of the four components of the coincident economic index increased in December.  The positive contributors to the index were wage and salaries* and personal consumption.  Employment* and industrial production declined.    

With the increase of 0.1 percent in December, the coincident economic index now stands at 104.2 (2004=100).  Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in both November and October.  During the six-month period through December, the index decreased 0.2 percent, with two of the four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

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 February 14, 2013. 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. Series in The Conference Board CEI for France that are based on our estimates are number of employees and wage and salaries.

Starting with the January 2013 release, The Conference Board is using the level of the interest rate spread, rather than its monthly change, to calculate the one and six-month diffusion indexes of The Conference Board LEI for France.

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.

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

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