Record High for Europe's Leading Economic Index
The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the Euro Area increased 0.9 percent to an historical high of 108.9 in February (2004 = 100), following a 0.7 percent increase in January and an 0.8 percent increase in December. The February increase in the Euro Area LEI was the fifth straight monthly gain, and starting with a sharp upturn in April 2009, the LEI has increased in 21 out of the last 23 months (see chart above).
Said Jean-Claude Manini, The Conference Board Senior Economist for Europe: “The fourth consecutive large increase in the LEI for the Euro Area suggests that European businesses will likely benefit from the current upswing in the expansion. However, despite the rapid improvement in the leading indicators, present economic conditions are relatively weak. Retailers and consumers are likely to remain cautious as higher inflation and expected budget cuts are likely to weigh on growth during the second half of the year.”