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ECONOMIC DATA THIS WEEK

CBI Industrial Trends Survey, November 2015:  There is mixed news from the latest CBI Survey where, although manufacturing output edged up over the 3 months to November, firms anticipate a decline in output over the coming quarter for the first time in 3 years.  This downturn is quite well spread with 11 of the 18 sub-sectors in negative territory and the largest drivers being Chemicals, Mechanical Engineering and Metal Manufacture; however, Transport equipment and Metal Products still have a positive outlook.

Total order books rebounded from the weak figures in October, but are still below where they were earlier in the year.  Export order books were flat and are below average in 13 of the 18 sub-sectors.

You can read the CBI’s Press Release on these results on their web-site at http://news.cbi.org.uk/news/exports-struggle-as-output-stabilises-its/ or request the summary from MTA.

European GDP, 3rd Quarter 2015:  Eurostat has published its flash estimates which shows that GDP in the Euro-zone was +0.3% higher than in the 2nd period of the year, with growth of +0.4% for the Eu28 as a whole.  These give annualised rates of +1.6% for the Euro-zone and +1.9% for the EU28.

Among the Member States for whom the data is published, only Finland (-0.6%), Estonia and Greece (both -0.5%) saw their economies contract in the 3rd quarter of the year; as all of these countries had reported growth in the 2nd quarter, no-one is currently in recession, although we need to wait for the data for Luxembourg to be published to confirm this.  The fastest rate of quarter-on-quarter growth was in Romania at +1.4%, while the fastest growing economy on an annualised basis is the Czech Republic (+4.3%).

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

UK Trade, 3rd Quarter 2015:  Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the UK’s trade deficit in goods widened to £32.2 billion (from £26.3 billion in the 2nd period of the year).  This was a result of a fall in exports of £6 billion, while imports only fell by £0.1 billion.

The reduction in exports was mainly due to a fall a reduction of £1.1 billion in chemicals and a £1.5 billion decrease in the shipment of finished manufactures (both to non-EU countries);  the latter was spread across most types of machinery and transport equipment.  There was also a decline of £0.8 billion in shipments of oil within the EU.

In the 3rd quarter, exports to Greece reached a record low and there was a record trade deficit with Turkey as imports of goods rose to an all-time high of £2.0 billion.  There was also a record trade deficit with China of £7.2 billion as imports increased by £1.3 billion compared to the 2nd quarter, while exports fell by £1.2 billion.

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

UK Foreign Trade in Machine Tool, 3rd Quarter 2015:  UK exports of machine tools in the 3rd quarter were worth £107.5 million; this is an increase of +7.4% on the 2nd period of the year, but is -17.0% lower than in the same months of 2014.  On the same basis, imports of machine tools into the UK were worth £131.6 million, +3.6% up on the previous quarter, but -5.0% down on a year earlier.

Looking at the first 3 quarters of 2015 together, UK machine tool exports are -13.8% lower than in the same period of 2014, with deliveries to the rest of the European Union down by -16.3%;  UK exports to the USA increased by +1.9% and significant deliveries to South Africa and Thailand helped push these two countries in to the top ten destinations, but there were significant falls in exports to China (-16.6%) and India (-25.2%).

For machine tool imports, arrivals from the EU in the first nine months of the year were -10.1% lower than in the equivalent period last year.  Outside of the EU, the only significant country (imports of more than £4 million for the nine months) from which imports increased was Turkey (+14.5%), with China (-25.4%), USA (-4.8%), Japan (-21.8%), Taiwan (-18.2%), South Korea (-30.9%) and Switzerland (-21.2%) all significantly lower.

If you are interested in more details of the trade performance for the UK machine tool business, either by product type or country/region, please contact Geoff Noon (e-mail: gnoon@mta.org.uk) to discuss what is available.