The Conference Board announced today that its “Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the Euro
Area increased 0.8 percent in December to 107.3, following a 0.6 percent increase in November and 0.2 percent increase in October,” which was the highest level in three and-one-half years going back to the summer of 2007 (see chart above).
Said Jean-Claude Manini, The Conference Board senior economist for Europe: “December brought a further increase in the Euro Area LEI, and all components rose during the latter half of 2010. But, the index remains on a slower growth path than in the prior 18 months, and current conditions, as measured by the Coincident Economic Indicator, remain very weak. Meanwhile, consumer expectations are weakening; particularly when viewed in the context of fiscal consolidation and rising inflation, this is a strong reminder that the Euro Area economy continues to face strong downside risks. The U.S. LEI showed even larger increases over the same two months, but it signals a more volatile growth path.”
Earlier this week, the Conference Board announced that the Leading Economic Index for Germany increased 0.9% in November.