Good morning and welcome to the first Friday Brief of 2019. Its set to be an historic year, one way or another, and businesses will want to be kept informed of all that is going on. Trade Associations like the MTA can play a really important role in doing that, both through formal contact and publications like our Forecasts and indeed the Friday Brief, but also in informal ways as facilitators of networking and contact. If you’ve got questions, please get in touch with either your Area Manager or a relevant staff member at the MTA. You can find a full list here: https://www.mta.org.uk/about-us/mta-staff
One way you can keep informed is to take part in the MTA’s monthly business survey accessible here www.mta.org.uk/mta-business-survey-dec18 Taking part gives you access to the results which can help you understand better what is happening in the sector.
New Year was rung in on the 1st of January and the Annual Investment Allowance was increased for a two-year period to £1,000,000 – a great development for companies looking to invest in new plant and equipment and, of course, for technology suppliers looking to help them do it. The MTA called for exactly this policy in advance of the Autumn Budget because, firstly, we believed that it would stimulate investment in what is an uncertain time, but also because we believe that there is an opportunity for businesses to take advantage of the pace of technology change and seize a chance to make themselves more productive.
The MTA Dinner is a highlight of the Manufacturing Calendar with place for this year’s event are filling up fast. Held at the Westminster Bridge Park Plaza in Central London the Dinner brings together hundreds of people from across manufacturing and beyond. You can find out how to make sure your company is represented here https://www.mta.org.uk/event/mta-centenary-dinner-2019
Later this month, on the 17th of January, the MTA is organising Future Engineering Ireland a manufacturing technology showcase in Dublin. The event is part of Ireland’s largest annual manufacturing event the National Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition. One booth has just become available within the show – so if you would like to be represented in the fast growing Irish market get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
The MTA is, for the first time taking a pavilion at the Automechnica Show at the NEC in June. The Show which is the UK’s leading event for the automotive aftermarket and vehicle production sector takes place between the 4-6 June and is likely to attract 12,000 visitors – 86% of them with purchasing authority. If you’d like to know more contact the MTA’s Head of Events James Fudge at email@example.com
The main economic headlines at the start of the new year are the PMI data for manufacturing in December; the general trend was for a lower reading than in November, but the UK was one of a few countries to buck this trend. Ironically, this seems to be largely due to Brexit, or more accurately, preparations for our exit from the EU; the PMI is not a confidence measure, but a composite index of five factors and it is an increase in orders and stocks, both of which are attributed to Brexit preparations, that drove the UK index slightly higher in December. In Europe, most of the countries saw the PMI fall and France and the Czech Republic joined Italy in having a PMI below the crucial 50 level; China also fell below 50, joining Taiwan, South Korea, Turkey, Poland and Mexico that were already in this situation in November. Our other main report this week is on the UK GDP and investment data that came out just before the holidays; while the GDP trend was unrevised at +0.6%, there is some concern about the investment data for which the underlying trend is downwards. Capital spending by the manufacturing sector and, within it, by the Engineering and Vehicles industry showed quarter-on-quarter growth in the 3rd period of 2017, but the levels are below those of a year earlier and with 2017 having a strong finish, the overall trends for 2018 are likely to be negative.
Finally this week, CECIMO has published a new edition of its Economic Toolbox; the format of this has been heavily revised to make it easier to interpret the various data series that it reports and to encourage MTA members to take a look at it, we have linked it in the story below.