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ECONOMIC DATA

UK Manufacturing Output, February 2014:  Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that UK manufacturing output grew by +0.8% in the latest 3 months (December 2013, January and February 2014) compared to the previous 3 months (September, October and November 2013) and by +2.7% compared to the same period a year earlier (December 2012, January and February 2013).  Manufacturing output is now at its highest level since January 2012.

Within the total, capital goods output only expanded by +0.2% on the previous 3 months and was +1.6% higher than a year ago;  it is the intermediate goods sector which is leading the expansion in manufacturing at the moment with growth of +2.1% and +5.9% respectively.

However, some parts of the capital goods sector continue to see strong growth.  The Machinery sector has expanded by +3.8% over the past 3 months, although it is only +1.8% higher than a year ago, while the opposite trend applies to the Metal Products sector where output has fallen by -0.2% recently, but is +2.2% up on 12 months earlier.

Both the Aerospace and Automotive industries had weak months recently (January 2014 and December 2013 respectively) which are affecting the short-term trend, but output is still significantly higher than it was a year ago for both of these industries.  Although Aerospace output is -0.8% lower than in the previous 3 months, it is +6.3% higher than a year ago.  For the Automotive industry, the changes are -4.0% and +6.0% respectively.

You can download the ONS Statistics Bulletin and the full dataset from their web-site at www.ons.gov.uk or request it from MTA;  we can help you find your way around this dataset - contact Geoff Noon (gnoon@mta.org.uk).

European Industrial Production, February 2014:  Eurostat publishes data for industrial production, which includes extraction and utilities industries as well as manufacturing, although the latter is by far the largest element.  Their latest figures show total industrial production in the euro-zone rose by +0.2% compared to January, with an increase of +.04% for the EU28 as a whole.

Output of the capital goods sector in the euro-zone was the same as in January and +4.0% higher than in February 2013.  For the EU28 as a whole, capital goods output expanded by +0.2% and +4.5% respectively.

Looking back over 12 months, among the 24 Member States for which the data is available, total industrial production increased in 16 and fell in 8; the largest increases were in Slovakia (+9.0%) and Romania (+8.9%), with the greatest decreases being in the Netherlands (-8.9%) and Finland (-5.4%).

You can get the Eurostat News Release from their web-site at http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/eurostat/home/ or request it from MTA.

USMTO and US CTMR February 2014:  The US Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) programme tracks orders received in the UK market.  Over the first two months of the year, orders were -0.6% lower than in January + February 2013.  There seems to be a divergence in the trends for the regions in this report with the North Central-West area down by -26.2% and the North Central-East area falling by -20.0%, while the North-East is up by +41.8% and the Western region has grown by +39.1% (in all cases this compares the first two months of 2014 with the same months of 2013).

The US Cutting Tool Market Report (CTMR) tracks sales in the US market and is based on returns from companies which covers about 80% of the total market.  The cumulative total for the first two months of the year is -8.5% lower than the same two months of 2013.

You can get the News Releases for both of these series from the AMT web-site at www.AMTonline.org or on request from MTA - we have a mailing list for these results each month if you are interested to receive them on a regular basis.

Investment Grants in Scotland and the English Regional Growth Fund:  The Scottish Government still uses a grant based system for supporting investment - Regional Selective Assistance (RSA);  details of this scheme are available at http://www.scottish-enterprise.com/fund-your-business.aspx  They produce a list of both accepted offers and payments made - copies of the Scottish report for the 4th quarter of 2013 are available on the above web-site or on request from MTA (we can also add you to a mailing list to receive these reports as they become available).

There is a different system for England where the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) operates the Regional Growth Fund (RGF);  under this system companies and organisations bid periodically for funds to support investment.  BIS has just announced the selected bidders for round 5 of this scheme and you can get a list of the companies and organisations concerned, as well as more information about the RGF, from their web-site at https://www.gov.uk/understanding-the-regional-growth-fund.