Good morning and welcome to this week’s Friday Brief.
This week would have been MACH 2020 at the NEC in Birmingham. Although due to current circumstances the exhibition could not go ahead, we wanted to highlight some of the excellent work that our members, exhibitors and stake holders, have been undertaking to support the country during this difficult time. See the story below for more details.
The business support landscape that has changed so dramatically in the last six weeks continues to do so, with news this morning that that the Government is considering extending their support for loans to smaller businesses (of under £25,000) to 100% which should enable the Banks to offer more of them. Details are sketchy as yet but watch this space for more information next week.
Be the Business, the Government sponsored organisation which encourages business improvement through collaboration, has also produced a website to help businesses with practical advice both from Government and other sources, including other businesses. Find out more here.
NMIS Insights is a series of online and face-to-face seminars from the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) aimed at providing Scotland’s manufacturing community with insights that can make real impact. For details on what webinars they are running in the near future please see within the Brief.
BSI have created PAS 440:2020 Responsible Innovation – Guide. This new guide provides comprehensive direction for companies on best practice for innovators. We consider responsible innovation to be so important that this PAS is being made available as a free download below.
As Europe is grappling with the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has set out four guiding principles for a successful re-launch of the auto industry, which will be vital to the wider economic recovery of the continent. Find out more in the story below.
Headlining the economic news this week is the results of the latest CBI Industrial Trends Survey which, inevitably, shows a sharp fall in activity in the UK manufacturing sector with the key customers for our industry, unfortunately, leading the way. It is also one of the longer quarterly surveys which means that we have data on investment intentions - again, these show a sharp fall but this is not really meaningful with companies still dealing with the current, hopefully temporary, disruption to business operations to be thinking about investment needs when the recovery comes. The flash estimates of the Purchasing Managers’ Index for April paint a similar picture with sharply negative trends for output masked slightly in the overall index by lengthening delivery times (which is normally taken to indicate strong activity rather than a collapsing of supply chains). There are some interesting nuances in the comparisons between the UK, Euro-zone, Japan and the USA, both in the timing of the downturn and the relationship between the overall PMI and the output element and we explore those in the article.
We also take a look at a couple of data-sets that are, now, somewhat historical. The industrial production data for Europe in February was broadly unchanged compared to January but this was before the impact of Covid-19 on activity in this part of the world. Similarly, the falls in both manufacturing technology orders and cutting tool consumption in the USA in the first two months of the year were a continuation of a trend that had been running through 2019 and was expected to turn around the middle of 2020 - that may still happen but for entirely different reasons!
That’s all for this week, we’ll be back next Friday, until then stay safe and healthy from everyone at the MTA.