Identification of Slowdowns and Accelerations for the Euro Area Economy


  • We would like to thank two anonymous referees, M. Bessec and D. Harding for their useful comments, as well as the participants of the internal seminar at Banque de France, the 27th International Symposium on Forecasting, Nice, France, June 2008, and the 10th EABCN Workshop, Frankfurt, Germany, March 2009. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Banque de France.


Business cycle analyses have proved to be helpful to practitioners in assessing current economic conditions and anticipating upcoming fluctuations. In this article, we focus on the acceleration cycle in the euro area, namely the peaks and troughs of the growth rate which delimit the slowdown and acceleration phases of the economy. Our aim is twofold: first, we put forward a reference turning point chronology of this cycle on a monthly basis, based on gross domestic product and industrial production indices. We consider both euro area aggregate level and country-specific cycles for the six main countries of the zone. Second, we come up with a new turning point indicator, based on business surveys carefully watched by central banks and short-term analysts, to follow in real-time the fluctuations of the acceleration cycle.