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ECONOMIC DATA THIS WEEK

UK GDP, 1st Quarter 2015:  The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published the quarterly National Accounts for the UK economy and, with this, has revised upwards the estimate of GDP for the first period of this calendar year.  As had been widely discussed, there was quite a significant upwards revision in the raw data, but because the figure for the 4th quarter of 2014 was also revised up, the quarter-on-quarter growth rate only went from +0.3% in the previous estimate to +0.4% now.

More detail is revealed by the fact that the growth rate for the UK economy in 2014 was revised up to +3.0% (from +2.8%) and, most significantly, the annualised rate for the 1st quarter of 2015 is now +2.9%, having been +2.4% in the previous release of data.  The revisions to the Q1-2015 numbers come about through higher output, expenditure and income, mainly due to a change in methodology in calculating construction output at constant prices and higher levels of capital formation, household consumption and company profits.

You can get the ONS Statistical Bulletin from their web-site at www.ons.gov.uk or request it from MTA.

PMI, UK and Euro-zone, June 2015:  The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the UK fell back slightly in June to 51.4 (from a revised 51.9 for May), but although this is the lowest level for over two years, it remains in positive territory where it has been for 27 consecutive quarters.  June saw manufacturing production expand at its slowest pace since April 2013, with investment goods the main culprit, but the overall PMI for this sector actually picked up slightly.  UK market conditions (orders) held up well in June, but new export orders fell back because of subdued demand from Europe which is partly driven by the exchange rate.

Turning to the euro-zone, the PMI accelerated slightly with the June reading of 52.5 ahead of the May figure (52.2).  Of the 8 economies covered by Markit, all except Greece were above the 50 point which marks the boundary between expansion and contraction;  the most significant of these is France where the index reached 50.7, its’ first positive number for just over a year.  The highest PMI reading was for Netherlands, with Ireland, Spain and Italy all in the region of 54, although for these 3 countries, the PMI was slightly lower than in May.  Across the region, manufacturing production matched the 13-month record level seen in May and orders from both domestic and overseas customers improved - the main exception here was a negligible decrease in French export orders.

Elsewhere in the world, there remains a mix of trends;  both Korea (46.1) and Taiwan (46.3) saw a significantly lower PMI reading in June while the Chinese reading (49.4) improved only marginally, Japan (50.1) fell by remained just positive - the “best” outcome in Asia was in India at 51.3, but this was down from the May level of 52.6.  There were strong improvements in the PMI for both the Czech Republic (56.9) and Poland (54.3), but both Turkey (down to 49.0) and Russia (up to 48.7) were in negative territory.  The PMI for Brazil was 46.5, although this is an improvement on the May figure, but the rest of the continent was in positive territory  with Canada (51.3) better than in May, but Mexico (52.0) and the USA (53.6) not quite as good as the previous month.

All of the Markit PMI reports for major economies around the world are available from their web-site at http://www.markiteconomics.com/Survey/Page.mvc/PressReleases.

UK Business Investment, 1st Quarter 2015:  Revised figures from the ONS show that total business investment was +2.0% higher than in the previous quarter (Q4-14) and +5.7% above the level of a year earlier (Q1-14).

The release of the revised figures brings a more detailed breakdown from which we can see that total manufacturing investment was +2.0% higher than in the previous quarter, but that within the total, spending by the Engineering & Vehicles industry fell by -3.8%.  Compared to the 1st quarter of 2014, total manufacturing investment rose by +15.2%, with growth of +11.1% for the Engineering & Vehicles Industry.

You can get the ONS Statistical Bulletin from their web-site at www.ons.gov.uk or request it from MTA.

Bank of England Agents Summary of Business Conditions, June 2015:  The latest report from the Bank of England’s Agents shows that manufacturing output growth edged higher for the domestic market, but that growth in goods exports has remained subdued overall.  In particular, there were reports from those supplying the oil & gas sector that order books were falling with many projects delayed and some outright cancellations.

Capacity utilisation eased slightly in the manufacturing sector, reflecting investment in new capacity as well as softening demand.  Investment intentions generally continue to point towards modest growth;  in the manufacturing sector, these tended to focus on new technology, seeking to reduce either energy or labour costs – spending on extra capacity was relatively uncommon.

You can get the Summary of Business Conditions from the Bank of England web-site at http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Pages/agentssummary/2015/may... or on request from MTA.

CBI Industrial trends Survey and European Commission Economic Sentiment Indicator, June 2015:  The latest results from the CBI survey show that manufacturing output growth and total order books remain moderately above average in June, but that export orders deteriorated, falling back to a 3-month low level.  The strength in order books is well spread with 13 of the 18 subsectors in the CBI survey reporting that they are above average;  however, only 11 of the sub-sectors had a rise in output in June, down from 14 in the May survey.

The European Commission takes the results from a range of business surveys, including, for the UK, those run by the CBI and derives an overall index;  the latest reading showed a marginal fall in the overall Economic Sentiment Indicator for the euro-zone and a larger reduction for the EU28 as a whole compared to May.  Within the euro-zone, industrial confidence fell a little as a result of more pessimism about production expectations and the current level of order books;  there was a similar, but slightly larger trend for the EU28 as a whole.

You can read the CBI’s Press Release on the results of its survey at http://news.cbi.org.uk/news/sluggish-exports-continue-to-drag-on-manufac..., with the European Commission report available from their web-site at http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/db_indicators/surveys/index_en.htm (scroll down and open the box for 2015 releases);  either or both of these are available on request from MTA.

CECIMO Statistical Toolbox, June 2015:  The latest edition of the CELIMO Toolbox has the usual round-up of general economic data for Europe, including interest rates, exchange rates and a range of PMI’s.  It also includes the latest reading for MT-IX, which is CECIMO’s own tracking of share prices for publically quoted machine tool manufacturing companies from around the world;  this continued the run of growth that we have seen since last Autumn.
You can get the CECIMO Toolbox on request from MTA.