Conference Board Leading Economic Index for Euro area fell 0.6% in March to 107.1 following a 0.3% decrease in February; annual real GDP growth projected to slow to 0.4% in 2023

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April 14, 2023 (press release) –

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index®(LEI) for the Euro Area fell by 0.6 percent in March 2023 to 107.1 (2016=100), following a 0.3 percent decline in February. The LEI contracted by 3.6 percent in the six-month period from September 2022 to March 2023, somewhat slower than the 4.1 percent decrease over the previous six-month period from March to September 2022.

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the Euro Area increased by 0.1 percent in March 2023 to 107.7 (2016=100), following no change in February. The CEI grew by 0.3 percent in the six-month period from September 2022 to March 2023, slower than the 0.8 percent increase over the previous six-month period.

“The Euro Area LEI fell again in March, continuing a downward trajectory which began more than a year ago,” said Casey Cloutier, Economic Research Analyst at The Conference Board. “Most components contributed negatively to the index this month – most notably declining consumer expectations, worsening systemic stress, and falling manufacturing orders. The LEI suggests recession risks remain elevated despite recent improvements. The war in Ukraine, continually tightening monetary policy, and global banking turmoil may weigh on growth for the Euro Area in the near term. For these reasons, The Conference Board projects that year-over-year real GDP growth will slow to just 0.4 percent in 2023.”

The Euro Area LEI fell for a thirteenth consecutive month in March

In March, negative contributions were widespread among both financial and non-financial components

Recession risks remain for the Euro Area despite the LEI growth rate having bottomed

Note: The chart illustrates the so-called 3D’s rule which is a reliable rule of thumb to interpret the duration, depth, and diffusion – the 3D’s – of a downward movement in the LEI. Duration refers to how long-lasting a decline in the index is, and depth denotes how large the decline is. Duration and depth are measured by the rate of change of the index over the last six months. Diffusion is a measure of how widespread the decline is (i.e., the diffusion index of the LEI ranges from 0 to 100 and numbers below 50 indicate most of the components are weakening). The 3D’s rule provides signals of impending recessions 1) when the diffusion index falls below the threshold of 50 (denoted by the black dotted line in the chart), and simultaneously 2) when the decline in the index over the most recent six months falls below the threshold of -6.9 percent. The red dotted line is drawn at the threshold value (measured by the median, -6.9 percent) on the months when both criteria are met simultaneously. Thus, the red dots signal a recession.


The April 2023 release of the composite economic indexes for the Euro Area incorporates benchmark revisions to include Euro Area data which incorporate economic statistics for Croatia. Croatia joined the Euro Area in January 2023. As a result of this change the entire historical samples of the coincident and leading economic indexes were recalculated. These revisions do not change the cyclical properties of the indexes and changes to the LEI and CEI are negligible. The indexes are updated throughout the year, but only for the previous six months. Data revisions that fall outside of the moving six-month window are not incorporated until a benchmark revision is made and the entire histories of the indexes are recomputed. As a result, the revised indexes, in levels and month-on-month changes, will not be directly comparable to those issued prior to the benchmark revision. The previous benchmark revision took place in January 2023. Comparisons of pre- and post-benchmark data are available upon request. 

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About The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for Euro Area: The composite economic indexes are the key elements in an analytic system designed to signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle. The indexes are constructed to summarize and reveal common turning points in the economy in a clearer and more convincing manner than any individual component. The CEI is highly correlated with real GDP. The LEI is a predictive variable that anticipates (or “leads”) turning points in the business cycle by 1 month. Shaded areas denote recession periods or economic contractions. The dates above the shaded areas show the chronology of peaks and troughs in the business cycle.


The eight components of The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® for the Euro Area include: ECB Yield Spread, Consumer Expectation of General Economy, Manufacturing New Orders, Volume of Order Books, Business Expectations Survey, Eurostoxx Index, Systemic Stress Composite Indicator, Building Permits.

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About The Conference Board

The Conference Board is the member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead. Founded in 1916, we are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. • Learn more about our mission and becoming a member

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